The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Lion Rock Group Limited's (HKG:1127) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. What is Lion Rock Group's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 5.59. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 18%.
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 Lion Rock Group:
P/E of 5.59 = HK$1.23 ÷ HK$0.22 (Based on the year to December 2018.)
Is A High P/E Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each HK$1 of company 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.
Does Lion Rock Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Lion Rock Group has a lower P/E than the average (12.2) in the commercial services industry classification.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Lion Rock Group shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Since the market seems unimpressed with Lion Rock Group, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. 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
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
It's great to see that Lion Rock Group grew EPS by 15% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 5.7% annually, over the last five years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.
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. 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 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.
So What Does Lion Rock Group's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Lion Rock Group has net cash of HK$223m. This is fairly high at 23% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.
The Verdict On Lion Rock Group's P/E Ratio
Lion Rock Group's P/E is 5.6 which is below average (9.9) in the HK market. The net cash position gives plenty of options to the business, and the recent improvement in EPS is good to see. The relatively low P/E ratio implies the market is pessimistic.
Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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 Lion Rock 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 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. Thank you for reading.