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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Madhav Copper Limited (NSE:MCL) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. To keep it practical, we'll show how Madhav Copper Limited's (NSE:MCL) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is Madhav Copper's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 78.16. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 1.3%.

View our latest analysis for Madhav Copper

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Madhav Copper:

P/E of 78.16 = ₹231 ÷ ₹2.96 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does Madhav Copper Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below, Madhav Copper has a much higher P/E than the average company (8.8) in the metals and mining industry.

NSEI:MCL Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 19th 2019

That means that the market expects Madhav Copper 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Madhav Copper's 54% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. And earnings per share have improved by 54% annually, over the last three years. So we'd absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

How Does Madhav Copper's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Madhav Copper has net debt worth just 4.0% of its market capitalization. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Verdict On Madhav Copper's P/E Ratio

Madhav Copper's P/E is 78.2 which suggests the market is more focussed on the future opportunity rather than the current level of earnings. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is superb. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. Although we don't have analyst forecasts, shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Madhav Copper may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.