Is China Aerospace International Holdings Limited’s (HKG:31) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. To keep it practical, we’ll show how China Aerospace International Holdings Limited’s (HKG:31) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. China Aerospace International Holdings has a P/E ratio of 3.71, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 26.9%.

See our latest analysis for China Aerospace International Holdings

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for China Aerospace International Holdings:

P/E of 3.71 = HKD0.44 ÷ HKD0.12 (Based on the trailing twelve months 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. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price’.

Does China Aerospace International 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. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (9.0) for companies in the electronic industry is higher than China Aerospace International Holdings’s P/E.

SEHK:31 Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 25th 2020
SEHK:31 Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 25th 2020

China Aerospace International Holdings’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

China Aerospace International Holdings shrunk earnings per share by 19% over the last year. But EPS is up 2.5% over the last 5 years. And over the longer term (3 years) earnings per share have decreased 33% annually. This might lead to low expectations.

Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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.

Is Debt Impacting China Aerospace International Holdings’s P/E?

China Aerospace International Holdings has net debt worth 24% of its market capitalization. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Bottom Line On China Aerospace International Holdings’s P/E Ratio

China Aerospace International Holdings trades on a P/E ratio of 3.7, which is below the HK market average of 9.9. Since it only carries a modest debt load, it’s likely the low expectations implied by the P/E ratio arise from the lack of recent earnings growth.

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. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but 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 China Aerospace International Holdings. 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 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.