Do You Know What Collection House Limited’s (ASX:CLH) P/E Ratio Means?

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Collection House Limited’s (ASX:CLH) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is Collection House’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 6.5. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 15%.

Check out our latest analysis for Collection House

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Collection House:

P/E of 6.5 = A$1.26 ÷ A$0.19 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each A$1 of company 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.’

How Does Collection House’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 Collection House has a lower P/E than the average (10.6) P/E for companies in the consumer finance industry.

ASX:CLH Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 24th 2019
ASX:CLH Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 24th 2019

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

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Collection House’s 50% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. Having said that, the average EPS growth over the last three years wasn’t so good, coming in at 9.0%.

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. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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).

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

Is Debt Impacting Collection House’s P/E?

Net debt totals 55% of Collection House’s market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.

The Verdict On Collection House’s P/E Ratio

Collection House trades on a P/E ratio of 6.5, which is below the AU market average of 16.2. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 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 Collection House. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.