Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Independence Group NL (ASX:IGO) Still Undervalued?

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 Independence Group NL’s (ASX:IGO) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is Independence Group’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 49.35. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 2.0%.

See our latest analysis for Independence Group

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 Independence Group:

P/E of 49.35 = A$6.36 ÷ A$0.13 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

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. That isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Independence Group has a significantly higher P/E than the average (13.2) P/E for companies in the metals and mining industry.

ASX:IGO Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 21st 2019
ASX:IGO Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 21st 2019

Independence Group’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company’s P/E multiple. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Notably, Independence Group grew EPS by a whopping 44% in the last year. But earnings per share are down 9.1% per year over the last five years.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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.

Independence Group’s Balance Sheet

The extra options and safety that comes with Independence Group’s AU$291m 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 Independence Group’s P/E Ratio

Independence Group has a P/E of 49.3. That’s higher than the average in its market, which is 18.2. The excess cash it carries is the gravy on top its fast EPS growth. So based on this analysis we’d expect Independence Group to have a high P/E ratio.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, ‘In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. 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.

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.