This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to MNF Group Limited’s (ASX:MNF), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. MNF Group has a P/E ratio of 36.3, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 2.8%.
How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for MNF Group:
P/E of 36.3 = A$4.4 ÷ A$0.12 (Based on the year to December 2018.)
Is A High P/E 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. 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
When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.
MNF Group shrunk earnings per share by 34% over the last year. But EPS is up 8.5% over the last 5 years. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 1.0% per year over the last three years. This might lead to low expectations.
Does MNF Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (36.3) for companies in the telecom industry is roughly the same as MNF Group’s P/E.
MNF Group’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. I inform my view byby checking management tenure and remuneration, among other things.
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. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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).
MNF Group’s Balance Sheet
Net debt totals 13% of MNF Group’s market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.
The Verdict On MNF Group’s P/E Ratio
MNF Group’s P/E is 36.3 which is above average (16.1) in the AU market. With a bit of debt, but a lack of recent growth, it’s safe to say the market is expecting improved profit performance from the company, in the next few years.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
But note: MNF Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.