Unfortunately for some shareholders, the 3SBio (HKG:1530) share price has dived 33% in the last thirty days. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 51% drop over twelve months.
Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more attractive to potential buyers. In the long term, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, but in the short term prices bounce around in response to short term factors (which are not always obvious). The implication here is that long term investors have an opportunity when expectations of a company are too low. Perhaps the simplest way to get a read on investors’ expectations of a business is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.
Does 3SBio Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
3SBio has a P/E ratio of 15.30. The image below shows that 3SBio has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the biotechs industry average (16.5).
That indicates that the market expects 3SBio will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Checking factors such as director buying and selling. could help you form your own view on if that will happen.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company’s P/E multiple. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.
3SBio saw earnings per share improve by -2.6% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 28% annually, over the last five years.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet
Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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).
Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).
Is Debt Impacting 3SBio’s P/E?
3SBio’s net debt is 7.6% 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 Verdict On 3SBio’s P/E Ratio
3SBio’s P/E is 15.3 which is above average (9.2) in its market. With debt at prudent levels and improving earnings, it’s fair to say the market expects steady progress in the future. Given 3SBio’s P/E ratio has declined from 22.7 to 15.3 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is significantly less confident about the business today, than it was back then. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for a contrarian, it may signal opportunity.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than 3SBio. 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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