Shangri-La Asia Limited’s (HKG:69) price-to-earnings (or “P/E”) ratio of 17.6x might make it look like a strong sell right now compared to the market in Hong Kong, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios below 10x and even P/E’s below 5x are quite common. However, the P/E might be quite high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it’s justified.
While the market has experienced earnings growth lately, Shangri-La Asia’s earnings have gone into reverse gear, which is not great. It might be that many expect the dour earnings performance to recover substantially, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. You’d really hope so, otherwise you’re paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.free report is a great place to start.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The High P/E?
Shangri-La Asia’s P/E ratio would be typical for a company that’s expected to deliver very strong growth, and importantly, perform much better than the market.
Taking a look back first, the company’s earnings per share growth last year wasn’t something to get excited about as it posted a disappointing decline of 21%. However, a few very strong years before that means that it was still able to grow EPS by an impressive 44% in total over the last three years. Although it’s been a bumpy ride, it’s still fair to say the earnings growth recently has been more than adequate for the company.
Shifting to the future, estimates from the three analysts covering the company suggest earnings should grow by 0.9% per year over the next three years. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to expand by 15% per annum, which is noticeably more attractive.
With this information, we find it concerning that Shangri-La Asia is trading at a P/E higher than the market. It seems most investors are hoping for a turnaround in the company’s business prospects, but the analyst cohort is not so confident this will happen. There’s a good chance these shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with the growth outlook.
The Key Takeaway
Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-earnings ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.
We’ve established that Shangri-La Asia currently trades on a much higher than expected P/E since its forecast growth is lower than the wider market. When we see a weak earnings outlook with slower than market growth, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. Unless these conditions improve markedly, it’s very challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.
There are also other vital risk factors to consider before investing and we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Shangri-La Asia that you should be aware of.
Of course, you might also be able to find a better stock than Shangri-La Asia. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that sit on P/E’s below 20x and have grown earnings strongly.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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