Is CapitaLand Limited’s (SGX:C31) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to CapitaLand Limited’s (SGX:C31), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. CapitaLand has a P/E ratio of 8.71, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying SGD8.71 for every SGD1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for CapitaLand

How Do I Calculate CapitaLand’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for CapitaLand:

P/E of 8.71 = SGD3.58 ÷ SGD0.41 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing 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.

Does CapitaLand Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (11.1) for companies in the real estate industry is higher than CapitaLand’s P/E.

SGX:C31 Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 18th 2019
SGX:C31 Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 18th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that CapitaLand shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Most would be impressed by CapitaLand earnings growth of 14% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 13% annually, over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio. The market might therefore be optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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.

Is Debt Impacting CapitaLand’s P/E?

CapitaLand has net debt worth a very significant 156% of its market capitalization. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Bottom Line On CapitaLand’s P/E Ratio

CapitaLand trades on a P/E ratio of 8.7, which is below the SG market average of 13.5. The company may have significant debt, but EPS growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.