Read This Before You Buy Phileo Australia Limited (ASX:PHI) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Phileo Australia Limited’s (ASX:PHI) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Phileo Australia has a P/E ratio of 4.31, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 23%.

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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 Phileo Australia:

P/E of 4.31 = A$12.69 ÷ A$2.94 (Based on the year to June 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each A$1 the company has earned over the last year. 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. 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. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

It’s nice to see that Phileo Australia grew EPS by a stonking 264% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 60% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Phileo Australia’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (10.3) for companies in the real estate industry is higher than Phileo Australia’s P/E.

ASX:PHI PE PEG Gauge January 22nd 19
ASX:PHI PE PEG Gauge January 22nd 19

This suggests that market participants think Phileo Australia will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

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.

How Does Phileo Australia’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Phileo Australia has net cash of AU$105m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Verdict On Phileo Australia’s P/E Ratio

Phileo Australia’s P/E is 4.3 which is below average (15.2) in the AU market. The net cash position gives plenty of options to the business, and the recent improvement in EPS is good to see. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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.