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Here's What Tabcorp Holdings Limited's (ASX:TAH) P/E Is Telling Us

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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 Tabcorp Holdings Limited's (ASX:TAH), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Tabcorp Holdings has a price to earnings ratio of 75.67, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay A$75.67 for every A$1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Tabcorp Holdings

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Tabcorp Holdings:

P/E of 75.67 = A$4.65 ÷ A$0.061 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each A$1 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.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Tabcorp Holdings's 208% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. On the other hand, the longer term performance is poor, with EPS down 18% per year over 5 years.

How Does Tabcorp Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, Tabcorp Holdings has a much higher P/E than the average company (18.4) in the hospitality industry.

ASX:TAH Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 7th 2019

Tabcorp Holdings's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. 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.

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.

Is Debt Impacting Tabcorp Holdings's P/E?

Tabcorp Holdings has net debt equal to 36% of its market cap. While it's worth keeping this in mind, it isn't a worry.

The Verdict On Tabcorp Holdings's P/E Ratio

With a P/E ratio of 75.7, Tabcorp Holdings is expected to grow earnings very strongly in the years to come. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is superb. So on this analysis a high P/E ratio seems reasonable.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Tabcorp Holdings. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.