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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Regis Resources Limited's (ASX:RRL) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Regis Resources has a P/E ratio of 15.72, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 6.4%.

See our latest analysis for Regis Resources

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Regis Resources:

P/E of 15.72 = A$5.06 ÷ A$0.32 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. All else being equal, it's better to pay a low price -- but as Warren Buffett said, 'It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.'

How Does Regis Resources's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (10.4) for companies in the metals and mining industry is lower than Regis Resources's P/E.

ASX:RRL Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 23rd 2019

That means that the market expects Regis Resources will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Regis Resources's earnings per share fell by 7.0% in the last twelve months. But over the longer term (3 years), earnings per share have increased by 13%.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

So What Does Regis Resources's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

The extra options and safety that comes with Regis Resources's AU$189m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Verdict On Regis Resources's P/E Ratio

Regis Resources's P/E is 15.7 which is about average (16.3) in the AU market. Although the recent drop in earnings per share would keep the market cautious, the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company to weather a storm; so it isn't very surprising to see that it has a P/E ratio close to the market average.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Regis Resources. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.