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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Intron Technology Holdings Limited (HKG:1760) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Intron Technology Holdings Limited's (HKG:1760) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Intron Technology Holdings has a P/E ratio of 14.02. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying HK$14.02 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Intron Technology Holdings

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share (in the reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Intron Technology Holdings:

P/E of 14.02 = HK$2.14 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ HK$0.15 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each HK$1 the company has earned over the last year. 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 Intron Technology Holdings 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, Intron Technology Holdings has a higher P/E than the average company (9.8) in the auto components industry.

SEHK:1760 Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 1st 2020

That means that the market expects Intron Technology Holdings 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. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Intron Technology Holdings's earnings per share fell by 23% in the last twelve months.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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.

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.

Is Debt Impacting Intron Technology Holdings's P/E?

Since Intron Technology Holdings holds net cash of CN¥93m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Bottom Line On Intron Technology Holdings's P/E Ratio

Intron Technology Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 14.0, which is above its market average of 10.5. The recent drop in earnings per share would make some investors cautious, but the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. Clearly, the high P/E indicates shareholders think it will!

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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.

You might be able to find a better buy than Intron Technology Holdings. 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).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.