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Is Sino Hotels (Holdings) Limited's (HKG:1221) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Sino Hotels (Holdings) Limited's (HKG:1221), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Sino Hotels (Holdings) has a P/E ratio of 16.83. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 5.9%.

See our latest analysis for Sino Hotels (Holdings)

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Sino Hotels (Holdings):

P/E of 16.83 = HK$3 ÷ HK$0.18 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does Sino Hotels (Holdings) Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Sino Hotels (Holdings) has a higher P/E than the average (12.2) P/E for companies in the hospitality industry.

SEHK:1221 Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 2nd 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Sino Hotels (Holdings) 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 delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

Sino Hotels (Holdings) saw earnings per share decrease by 2.2% last year. But over the longer term (3 years), earnings per share have increased by 2.8%. And EPS is down 6.3% a year, over the last 5 years. So we might expect a relatively low P/E.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

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. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in 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.

How Does Sino Hotels (Holdings)'s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Sino Hotels (Holdings) has net cash of HK$1.2b. This is fairly high at 36% 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 Bottom Line On Sino Hotels (Holdings)'s P/E Ratio

Sino Hotels (Holdings) trades on a P/E ratio of 16.8, which is above its market average of 10.3. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.

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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.