Does Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Limited’s (HKG:1114) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Limited’s (HKG:1114) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Brilliance China Automotive Holdings has a P/E ratio of 6.41, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying HK$6.41 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for Brilliance China Automotive Holdings

How Do You Calculate Brilliance China Automotive Holdings’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price (in reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Brilliance China Automotive Holdings:

P/E of 6.41 = CN¥7.39 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, CNY ) ÷ CN¥1.15 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each HK$1 of company earnings. That isn’t necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

It’s nice to see that Brilliance China Automotive Holdings grew EPS by a stonking 33% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 11% per year over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

Does Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Brilliance China Automotive Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (9.8) P/E for companies in the auto industry.

SEHK:1114 Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 29th 2019
SEHK:1114 Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 29th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Brilliance China Automotive Holdings shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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).

Is Debt Impacting Brilliance China Automotive Holdings’s P/E?

Net debt totals just 5.9% of Brilliance China Automotive Holdings’s market cap. So it doesn’t have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Brilliance China Automotive Holdings’s P/E Ratio

Brilliance China Automotive Holdings’s P/E is 6.4 which is below average (12) in the HK market. The company hasn’t stretched its balance sheet, and earnings growth was good last year. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified. Because analysts are predicting more growth in the future, one might have expected to see a higher P/E ratio. You can taker closer look at the fundamentals, here.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Brilliance China Automotive Holdings. 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.