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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is SITC International Holdings Company Limited (HKG:1308) 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). To keep it practical, we'll show how SITC International Holdings Company Limited's (HKG:1308) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, SITC International Holdings's P/E ratio is 14.29. That means that at current prices, buyers pay HK$14.29 for every HK$1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for SITC International Holdings

How Do You Calculate SITC International Holdings's P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for SITC International Holdings:

P/E of 14.29 = USD1.15 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, USD ) ÷ USD0.08 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E 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 SITC International Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, SITC International Holdings has a higher P/E than the average company (11.6) in the shipping industry.

SEHK:1308 Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 28th 2020

That means that the market expects SITC International Holdings will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. 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.

Most would be impressed by SITC International Holdings earnings growth of 10% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 12% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

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.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

SITC International Holdings's Balance Sheet

Since SITC International Holdings holds net cash of US$79m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Verdict On SITC International Holdings's P/E Ratio

SITC International Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 14.3, which is above its market average of 9.9. Its net cash position supports a higher P/E ratio, as does its solid recent earnings growth. Therefore it seems reasonable that the market would have relatively high expectations of the company

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.

But note: SITC International Holdings 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).

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.