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 Sin Ghee Huat Corporation Ltd.'s (SGX:B7K) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Sin Ghee Huat has a P/E ratio of 25.38. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 3.9%.
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 Sin Ghee Huat:
P/E of 25.38 = SGD0.21 ÷ SGD0.01 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)
Is A High P/E Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each SGD1 of company earnings. That isn't a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.
Does Sin Ghee Huat Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.0) for companies in the trade distributors industry is lower than Sin Ghee Huat's P/E.
Sin Ghee Huat's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. 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
P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
In the last year, Sin Ghee Huat grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 51% gain was both fast and well deserved. Regrettably, the longer term performance is poor, with EPS down 11% per year over 5 years.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. 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.
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.
Sin Ghee Huat's Balance Sheet
With net cash of S$13m, Sin Ghee Huat has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 26% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.
The Bottom Line On Sin Ghee Huat's P/E Ratio
Sin Ghee Huat trades on a P/E ratio of 25.4, which is above its market average of 13.6. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. Although we don't have analyst forecasts 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 Sin Ghee Huat. 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).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.