U.S. Markets open in 5 hrs 48 mins

Should We Worry About BYD Company Limited's (HKG:1211) P/E Ratio?

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at BYD Company Limited's (HKG:1211) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Based on the last twelve months, BYD's P/E ratio is 28.22. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying HK$28.22 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for BYD

How Do I Calculate BYD's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share (in the reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for BYD:

P/E of 28.22 = CN¥39.34 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ CN¥1.39 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing 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 BYD 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. The image below shows that BYD has a significantly higher P/E than the average (8.3) P/E for companies in the auto industry.

SEHK:1211 Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 12th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that BYD shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

BYD increased earnings per share by a whopping 34% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 46%. I'd therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.

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

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. 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 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 BYD's P/E?

Net debt is 40% of BYD's market cap. While it's worth keeping this in mind, it isn't a worry.

The Verdict On BYD's P/E Ratio

BYD has a P/E of 28.2. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 10. Its debt levels do not imperil its balance sheet and its EPS growth is very healthy indeed. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio.

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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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.