# Here’s How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand CSI Properties Limited (HKG:497)

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 CSI Properties Limited’s (HKG:497), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, CSI Properties has a P/E ratio of 3.58. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 28%.

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### How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for CSI Properties:

P/E of 3.58 = HK\$0.41 ÷ HK\$0.11 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 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 HK\$1 the company has earned over the last year. 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. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

CSI Properties’s earnings per share fell by 20% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 25% per year over the last three years.

### How Does CSI Properties’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that CSI Properties has a lower P/E than the average (6.2) P/E for companies in the real estate industry.

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that CSI Properties shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

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. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

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.

### So What Does CSI Properties’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals a substantial 188% of CSI Properties’s market cap. This level of debt justifies a relatively low P/E, so remain cognizant of the debt, if you’re comparing it to other stocks.

### The Verdict On CSI Properties’s P/E Ratio

CSI Properties’s P/E is 3.6 which is below average (11.1) in the HK market. The P/E reflects market pessimism that probably arises from the lack of recent EPS growth, paired with significant leverage.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than CSI Properties. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.