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Does Oriental Press Group Limited's (HKG:18) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

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 Oriental Press Group Limited's (HKG:18) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is Oriental Press Group's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 17.09. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 5.9%.

Check out our latest analysis for Oriental Press Group

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Oriental Press Group:

P/E of 17.09 = HK$0.58 ÷ HK$0.03 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing 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 Does Oriental Press Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see Oriental Press Group has a lower P/E than the average (22.1) in the media industry classification.

SEHK:18 Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 13th 2019

Oriental Press Group's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, 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. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. 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.

Oriental Press Group shrunk earnings per share by 49% over the last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 14% per year over the last three years. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 2.1% annually. This could justify a pessimistic P/E.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

Is Debt Impacting Oriental Press Group's P/E?

With net cash of HK$523m, Oriental Press Group has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 37% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Verdict On Oriental Press Group's P/E Ratio

Oriental Press Group has a P/E of 17.1. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 10.4. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.

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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than Oriental Press Group. 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).

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.