This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (NSE:HAL) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Hindustan Aeronautics has a price to earnings ratio of 6.32, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 15.8%.
How Do You Calculate Hindustan Aeronautics’s P/E Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Hindustan Aeronautics:
P/E of 6.32 = ₹533.300 ÷ ₹84.411 (Based on the year to December 2019.)
(Note: the above calculation results may not be precise due to rounding.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each ₹1 of company 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.
How Does Hindustan Aeronautics’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Hindustan Aeronautics has a lower P/E than the average (8.0) in the aerospace & defense industry classification.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Hindustan Aeronautics shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
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. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.
Hindustan Aeronautics’s 54% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. The sweetener is that the annual five year growth rate of 33% is also impressive. With that kind of growth rate we would generally expect a high P/E ratio.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet
The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).
While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.
Is Debt Impacting Hindustan Aeronautics’s P/E?
Hindustan Aeronautics’s net debt is 0.1% of its market cap. So it doesn’t have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.
The Bottom Line On Hindustan Aeronautics’s P/E Ratio
Hindustan Aeronautics’s P/E is 6.3 which is below average (9.4) in the IN market. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. Although we don’t have analyst forecasts you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Hindustan Aeronautics. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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