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Is Qube Holdings Limited’s (ASX:QUB) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

Simply Wall St

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Qube Holdings Limited’s (ASX:QUB) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Qube Holdings has a P/E ratio of 20.7, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 4.8%.

View our latest analysis for Qube Holdings

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Qube Holdings:

P/E of 20.7 = A$2.79 ÷ A$0.13 (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 A$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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Notably, Qube Holdings grew EPS by a whopping 183% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 1.8% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Qube Holdings’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 (23.1) for companies in the infrastructure industry is higher than Qube Holdings’s P/E.

ASX:QUB Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 27th 2019

This suggests that market participants think Qube Holdings will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

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.

Is Debt Impacting Qube Holdings’s P/E?

Qube Holdings has net debt worth 24% of its market capitalization. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.

The Bottom Line On Qube Holdings’s P/E Ratio

Qube Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 20.7, which is above the AU market average of 16. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and it is growing earnings per share. So it does not seem strange that the P/E is above average.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. 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 Qube 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.