Why VST Industries Limited's (NSE:VSTIND) High P/E Ratio Isn't Necessarily A Bad Thing

By
Simply Wall St
Published
November 25, 2018
NSEI:VSTIND

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 VST Industries Limited's (NSE:VSTIND) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. VST Industries has a price to earnings ratio of 20.56, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.9%.

See our latest analysis for VST Industries

How Do I Calculate VST Industries's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for VST Industries:

P/E of 20.56 = ₹2882 ÷ ₹140.17 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each ₹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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Most would be impressed by VST Industries earnings growth of 23% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 6.6% per year over the last five years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio.

How Does VST Industries's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that VST Industries has a higher P/E than the average (13.6) P/E for companies in the tobacco industry.

NSEI:VSTIND PE PEG Gauge November 25th 18
NSEI:VSTIND PE PEG Gauge November 25th 18

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that VST Industries shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors 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

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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.

Is Debt Impacting VST Industries's P/E?

The extra options and safety that comes with VST Industries's ₹5.3b net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Verdict On VST Industries's P/E Ratio

VST Industries's P/E is 20.6 which is above average (17.1) in the IN market. Its strong balance sheet gives the company plenty of resources for extra growth, 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. So this freereport 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 VST Industries. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this freelist of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.

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Simply Wall St has no position in any of the companies mentioned. This article 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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
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