Should You Be Tempted To Sell Bellamy’s Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) At Its Current PE Ratio?

I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to better understand how you can grow your money by investing in Bellamy’s Australia Limited (ASX:BAL).

Bellamy’s Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 121.1x, which is higher than the industry average of 15.5x. While this makes BAL appear like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, you might change your mind after I explain the assumptions behind the P/E ratio. In this article, I will deconstruct the P/E ratio and highlight what you need to be careful of when using the P/E ratio. Check out our latest analysis for Bellamy’s Australia

Breaking down the P/E ratio

ASX:BAL PE PEG Gauge June 12th 18
ASX:BAL PE PEG Gauge June 12th 18

The P/E ratio is a popular ratio used in relative valuation since earnings power is a key driver of investment value. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

Formula

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

P/E Calculation for BAL

Price per share = A$17.5

Earnings per share = A$0.145

∴ Price-Earnings Ratio = A$17.5 ÷ A$0.145 = 121.1x

On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. Ideally, we want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar characteristics as BAL, such as size and country of operation. A common peer group is companies that exist in the same industry, which is what I use below. Since it is expected that similar companies have similar P/E ratios, we can come to some conclusions about the stock if the ratios are different.

Since BAL’s P/E of 121.1x is higher than its industry peers (15.5x), it means that investors are paying more than they should for each dollar of BAL’s earnings. Therefore, according to this analysis, BAL is an over-priced stock.

A few caveats

Before you jump to the conclusion that BAL should be banished from your portfolio, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two important assertions. The first is that our peer group actually contains companies that are similar to BAL. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to some other factors. For example, if you are inadvertently comparing riskier firms with BAL, then BAL’s P/E would naturally be higher than its peers since investors would reward its lower risk with a higher price. The other possibility is if you were accidentally comparing lower growth firms with BAL. In this case, BAL’s P/E would be higher since investors would also reward BAL’s higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing BAL to are fairly valued by the market. If this assumption is violated, BAL’s P/E may be higher than its peers because its peers are actually undervalued by investors.

ASX:BAL Future Profit June 12th 18
ASX:BAL Future Profit June 12th 18

What this means for you:

If your personal research into the stock confirms what the P/E ratio is telling you, it might be a good time to rebalance your portfolio and reduce your holdings in BAL. But keep in mind that the usefulness of relative valuation depends on whether you are comfortable with making the assumptions I mentioned above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for BAL’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for BAL’s outlook.
  2. Past Track Record: Has BAL been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of BAL’s historicals for more clarity.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.