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Is Altima Resources Ltd (CVE:ARH) Attractive At This PE Ratio?

This analysis is intended to introduce important early concepts to people who are starting to invest and want to begin learning about how to value company based on its current earnings and what are the drawbacks of this method.

Altima Resources Ltd (CVE:ARH) trades with a trailing P/E of 0.1x, which is lower than the industry average of 20.5x. While ARH might seem like an attractive stock to buy, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. In this article, I will deconstruct the P/E ratio and highlight what you need to be careful of when using the P/E ratio.

What you need to know about the P/E ratio

A common ratio used for relative valuation is the P/E ratio. By comparing a stockâ€™s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the companyâ€™s earnings.

P/E Calculation for ARH

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share Ã· Earnings per share

ARH Price-Earnings Ratio = CA\$0.030 Ã· CA\$0.243 = 0.1x

On its own, the P/E ratio doesnâ€™t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. Our goal is to compare the stockâ€™s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to ARH, such as company lifetime and products sold. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. ARHâ€™s P/E of 0.1 is lower than its industry peers (20.5), which implies that each dollar of ARHâ€™s earnings is being undervalued by investors. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 25 Oil and Gas companies in CA including Greencastle Resources, McChip Resources and Pinedale Energy. You can think of it like this: the market is suggesting that ARH is a weaker business than the average comparable company.

Assumptions to watch out for

However, there are two important assumptions you should be aware of. Firstly, our peer group contains companies that are similar to ARH. If this isnâ€™t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to other factors. For example, if you compared lower risk firms with ARH, then investors would naturally value it at a lower price since it is a riskier investment. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing ARH to are fairly valued by the market. If this is violated, ARHâ€™s P/E may be lower than its peers as they are actually overvalued by investors.

What this means for you:

Since you may have already conducted your due diligence on ARH, the undervaluation of the stock may mean it is a good time to top up on your current holdings. But at the end of the day, keep in mind that relative valuation relies heavily on critical assumptions Iâ€™ve outlined above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

1. Financial Health: Are ARHâ€™s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why weâ€™ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
2. Past Track Record: Has ARH been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of ARHâ€™s historicals for more clarity.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.