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Does Silvercorp Metals Inc’s (TSE:SVM) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Silvercorp Metals Inc’s (TSE:SVM) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Silvercorp Metals has a P/E ratio of 8.5, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 12%.

See our latest analysis for Silvercorp Metals

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Silvercorp Metals:

P/E of 8.5 = $2.22 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, USD ) ÷ $0.26 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each CA$1 of company 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Silvercorp Metals shrunk earnings per share by 9.9% last year. But EPS is up 51% over the last 5 years.

How Does Silvercorp Metals’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (10) for companies in the metals and mining industry is higher than Silvercorp Metals’s P/E.

TSX:SVM PE PEG Gauge November 13th 18

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Silvercorp Metals shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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).

How Does Silvercorp Metals’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Silvercorp Metals has net cash of US$120m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On Silvercorp Metals’s P/E Ratio

Silvercorp Metals trades on a P/E ratio of 8.5, which is below the CA market average of 14.4. The recent drop in earnings per share would make investors cautious, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: if so, the low P/E could be an opportunity.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.