Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is BEML Limited (NSE:BEML) Still Undervalued?

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use BEML Limited’s (NSE:BEML) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, BEML’s P/E ratio is 24.09. That means that at current prices, buyers pay ₹24.09 for every ₹1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for BEML

How Do You Calculate BEML’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for BEML:

P/E of 24.09 = ₹750 ÷ ₹31.14 (Based on the year to March 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. 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.

It’s nice to see that BEML grew EPS by a stonking 53% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 62% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

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

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 (18.8) for companies in the machinery industry is lower than BEML’s P/E.

NSEI:BEML PE PEG Gauge November 22nd 18
NSEI:BEML PE PEG Gauge November 22nd 18

That means that the market expects BEML will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. 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.

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 BEML’s P/E?

BEML’s net debt is 14% of its market cap. That’s enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you’re comparing it to companies without debt.

The Bottom Line On BEML’s P/E Ratio

BEML has a P/E of 24.1. That’s higher than the average in the IN market, which is 17.3. Its debt levels do not imperil its balance sheet and it has already proven it can grow. So it is not surprising the market is probably extrapolating recent growth well into the future, reflected in the relatively high P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. Although we don’t have analyst forecasts, 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.