Here’s What Kia Motors Corporation’s (KRX:000270) P/E Ratio Is Telling Us

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 Kia Motors Corporation’s (KRX:000270) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Kia Motors has a P/E ratio of 11.32, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay ₩11.32 for every ₩1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Kia Motors

How Do I Calculate Kia Motors’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Kia Motors:

P/E of 11.32 = ₩44450.00 ÷ ₩3927.28 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

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. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.7) for companies in the auto industry is higher than Kia Motors’s P/E.

KOSE:A000270 Price Estimation Relative to Market, December 16th 2019
KOSE:A000270 Price Estimation Relative to Market, December 16th 2019

Kia Motors’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

It’s nice to see that Kia Motors grew EPS by a stonking 35% in the last year. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 15%, annually, over 5 years.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

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).

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 Kia Motors’s P/E?

With net cash of ₩2.5t, Kia Motors has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 14% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Kia Motors’s P/E Ratio

Kia Motors has a P/E of 11.3. That’s below the average in the KR market, which is 14.8. Not only should the net cash position reduce risk, but the recent growth has been impressive. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio. Because analysts are predicting more growth in the future, one might have expected to see a higher P/E ratio. You can take a closer look at the fundamentals, here.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

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.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.