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Should We Worry About TL Natural Gas Holdings Limited's (HKG:8536) P/E Ratio?

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 TL Natural Gas Holdings Limited's (HKG:8536) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is TL Natural Gas Holdings's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 13.01. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying HK$13.01 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for TL Natural Gas Holdings

How Do I Calculate A 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 TL Natural Gas Holdings:

P/E of 13.01 = HK$0.17 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ HK$0.01 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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.

Does TL Natural Gas Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below, TL Natural Gas Holdings has a higher P/E than the average company (11.0) in the specialty retail industry.

SEHK:8536 Price Estimation Relative to Market, December 13th 2019

That means that the market expects TL Natural Gas Holdings will outperform other companies in its industry. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.

TL Natural Gas Holdings's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 245% last year.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. 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 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.

How Does TL Natural Gas Holdings's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

TL Natural Gas Holdings has net cash of CN¥34m. This is fairly high at 42% 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 TL Natural Gas Holdings's P/E Ratio

TL Natural Gas Holdings's P/E is 13.0 which is above average (10.2) in its market. The excess cash it carries is the gravy on top its fast EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than TL Natural Gas 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).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.