I am writing today to help inform people who are new to the stock market and want to begin learning about how to value company based on its current earnings and what are the drawbacks of this method.
Orbis Spólka Akcyjna (WSE:ORB) is trading with a trailing P/E of 11.2x, which is higher than the industry average of 10.1x. Although some investors may jump to the conclusion that you should avoid the stock or sell if you own it, understanding the assumptions behind the P/E ratio might change your mind. Today, I will deconstruct the P/E ratio and highlight what you need to be careful of when using the P/E ratio.
What you need to know about the P/E ratio
The P/E ratio is a popular ratio used in relative valuation since earnings power is a key driver of investment value. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
P/E Calculation for ORB
Price per share = PLN88.2
Earnings per share = PLN7.908
∴ Price-Earnings Ratio = PLN88.2 ÷ PLN7.908 = 11.2x
The P/E ratio isn’t a metric you view in isolation and only becomes useful when you compare it against other similar companies. Ideally, we want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar characteristics as ORB, such as size and country of operation. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since similar companies should technically have similar P/E ratios, we can very quickly come to some conclusions about the stock if the ratios differ.
At 11.2x, ORB’s P/E is higher than its industry peers (10.1x). This implies that investors are overvaluing each dollar of ORB’s earnings. This multiple is a median of profitable companies of 9 Hospitality companies in PL including Warimpex Finanz- und Beteiligungs, Maxipizza and Mex Polska Spólka Akcyjna. Therefore, according to this analysis, ORB is an over-priced stock.
A few caveats
While our conclusion might prompt you to sell your ORB shares immediately, there are two important assumptions you should be aware of. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to ORB. If the companies aren’t similar, the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you are inadvertently comparing riskier firms with ORB, then ORB’s P/E would naturally be higher than its peers since investors would reward its lower risk with a higher price. The other possibility is if you were accidentally comparing lower growth firms with ORB. In this case, ORB’s P/E would be higher since investors would also reward ORB’s higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing ORB to are fairly valued by the market. If this assumption does not hold true, ORB’s higher P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are being undervalued by the market.
What this means for you:
You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current overvaluation could signal a potential selling opportunity to reduce your exposure to ORB. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for ORB’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ORB’s outlook.
- Past Track Record: Has ORB been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of ORB’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.