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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Bellamy's Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Bellamy's Australia Limited's (ASX:BAL) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Bellamy's Australia has a P/E ratio of 31.7. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.2%.

See our latest analysis for Bellamy's Australia

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 Bellamy's Australia:

P/E of 31.7 = A$8 ÷ A$0.25 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each A$1 of company earnings. 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. 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.

Bellamy's Australia's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 75% last year. The cherry on top is that the five year growth rate was an impressive 67% per year. So I'd be surprised if the P/E ratio was not above average.

Does Bellamy's Australia Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. As you can see below, Bellamy's Australia has a higher P/E than the average company (18.7) in the food industry.

ASX:BAL Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 15th 2019

That means that the market expects Bellamy's Australia will outperform other companies in its industry. 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.

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

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in 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.

Bellamy's Australia's Balance Sheet

Bellamy's Australia has net cash of AU$95m. This is fairly high at 10% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Bottom Line On Bellamy's Australia's P/E Ratio

Bellamy's Australia has a P/E of 31.7. That's higher than the average in the AU market, which is 16. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Bellamy's Australia. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.