The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at SA Catana Group's (EPA:CATG) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. SA Catana Group has a price to earnings ratio of 21.62, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €21.62 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.
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 SA Catana Group:
P/E of 21.62 = €3.02 ÷ €0.14 (Based on the trailing twelve months to February 2019.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each €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 Does SA Catana Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (14.6) for companies in the leisure industry is lower than SA Catana Group's P/E.
Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that SA Catana Group shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. 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. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
SA Catana Group saw earnings per share improve by -5.9% last year.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. 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.
Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.
SA Catana Group's Balance Sheet
With net cash of €11m, SA Catana Group has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 12% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.
The Verdict On SA Catana Group's P/E Ratio
SA Catana Group's P/E is 21.6 which is above average (17.7) in its market. Earnings improved over the last year. Also positive, the relatively strong balance sheet will allow for investment in growth -- and the P/E indicates shareholders that will happen!
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
But note: SA Catana Group 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.