Is Johns Lyng Group Limited’s (ASX:JLG) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Johns Lyng Group Limited’s (ASX:JLG) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Johns Lyng Group has a P/E ratio of 18.63, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 5.4%.

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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 Johns Lyng Group:

P/E of 18.63 = A$1.01 ÷ A$0.054 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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.’

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. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Johns Lyng Group saw earnings per share decrease by 19% last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 24% per year over the last five years.

How Does Johns Lyng Group’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Johns Lyng Group has a higher P/E than the average (13.7) P/E for companies in the construction industry.

ASX:JLG PE PEG Gauge January 12th 19
ASX:JLG PE PEG Gauge January 12th 19

That means that the market expects Johns Lyng Group will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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 Johns Lyng Group’s P/E?

The extra options and safety that comes with Johns Lyng Group’s AU$18m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Verdict On Johns Lyng Group’s P/E Ratio

Johns Lyng Group trades on a P/E ratio of 18.6, which is above the AU market average of 14.7. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. Clearly, the high P/E indicates shareholders think it will!

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. 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 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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.