Should We Worry About Vitasoy International Holdings Limited’s (HKG:345) P/E Ratio?

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll show how you can use Vitasoy International Holdings Limited’s (HKG:345) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Vitasoy International Holdings has a price to earnings ratio of 51.36, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying HK$51.36 for every HK$1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for Vitasoy International Holdings

How Do I Calculate Vitasoy International Holdings’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Vitasoy International Holdings:

P/E of 51.36 = HK$33.70 ÷ HK$0.66 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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.

Does Vitasoy International Holdings Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (16.0) for companies in the food industry is a lot lower than Vitasoy International Holdings’s P/E.

SEHK:345 Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 11th 2019
SEHK:345 Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 11th 2019

Vitasoy International Holdings’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. 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. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Most would be impressed by Vitasoy International Holdings earnings growth of 18% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 17% per year over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

Vitasoy International Holdings’s Balance Sheet

Vitasoy International Holdings has net cash of HK$961m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On Vitasoy International Holdings’s P/E Ratio

With a P/E ratio of 51.4, Vitasoy International Holdings is expected to grow earnings very strongly in the years to come. Its strong balance sheet gives the company plenty of resources for extra growth, and it has already proven it can grow. Therefore it seems reasonable that the market would have relatively high expectations of the company

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 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 Vitasoy International 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.