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Should We Worry About Country Garden Services Holdings Company Limited's (HKG:6098) P/E Ratio?

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Country Garden Services Holdings Company Limited's (HKG:6098) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Country Garden Services Holdings has a price to earnings ratio of 39.11, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying HK$39.11 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Country Garden Services Holdings

How Do I Calculate Country Garden Services Holdings's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Country Garden Services Holdings:

P/E of 39.11 = CN¥14.44 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ CN¥0.37 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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.

Country Garden Services Holdings's 130% 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 39% per year over 5 years.

Does Country Garden Services 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 Country Garden Services Holdings has a higher P/E than the average (13.2) P/E for companies in the commercial services industry.

SEHK:6098 Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 17th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Country Garden Services 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.

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

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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 Country Garden Services Holdings's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Country Garden Services Holdings has net cash of CN¥3.9b. This is fairly high at 10% 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 Country Garden Services Holdings's P/E Ratio

Country Garden Services Holdings has a P/E of 39.1. That's significantly higher than the average in the HK market, which is 10.7. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.' So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

You might be able to find a better buy than Country Garden Services Holdings. 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 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.