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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Giordano International Limited (HKG:709) 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 Giordano International Limited's (HKG:709) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Giordano International has a P/E ratio of 12.77, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying HK$12.77 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for Giordano International

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Giordano International:

P/E of 12.77 = HK$3.89 ÷ HK$0.30 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

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 isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Giordano International's earnings per share fell by 4.3% in the last twelve months. But over the longer term (3 years), earnings per share have increased by 3.9%. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 6.5% annually. So it would be surprising to see a high P/E.

Does Giordano International 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. The image below shows that Giordano International has a higher P/E than the average (11.5) P/E for companies in the specialty retail industry.

SEHK:709 Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 16th 2019

Giordano International's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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.

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.

Giordano International's Balance Sheet

With net cash of HK$1.0b, Giordano International has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 17% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Giordano International's P/E Ratio

Giordano International has a P/E of 12.8. That's around the same as the average in the HK market, which is 12.1. Although the recent drop in earnings per share would keep the market cautious, the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. So it's not surprising to see it trade on a P/E roughly in line with the market.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.