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What Does Dalian Port (PDA) Company Limited's (HKG:2880) P/E Ratio Tell You?

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Dalian Port (PDA) Company Limited's (HKG:2880), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Dalian Port (PDA) has a P/E ratio of 17.12, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay HK$17.12 for every HK$1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Dalian Port (PDA)

How Do You Calculate Dalian Port (PDA)'s P/E 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 Dalian Port (PDA):

P/E of 17.12 = CNY0.83 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ CNY0.05 (Based on the year to September 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each CNY1 the company has earned over the last year. 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.

Does Dalian Port (PDA) Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, Dalian Port (PDA) has a higher P/E than the average company (8.4) in the infrastructure industry.

SEHK:2880 Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 24th 2020

Dalian Port (PDA)'s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. 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

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. 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.

It's great to see that Dalian Port (PDA) grew EPS by 11% in the last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 3 years is 8.4%. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 1.5% a year, over 5 years.

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

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

How Does Dalian Port (PDA)'s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Dalian Port (PDA)'s net debt is 21% of its market cap. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.

The Bottom Line On Dalian Port (PDA)'s P/E Ratio

Dalian Port (PDA) has a P/E of 17.1. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 10.5. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is very good. Therefore, it's not particularly surprising that it has a above average P/E ratio.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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.

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.