A Rising Share Price Has Us Looking Closely At Beluga Group Public Joint-Stock Company’s (MCX:BELU) P/E Ratio

It’s great to see Beluga Group (MCX:BELU) shareholders have their patience rewarded with a 31% share price pop in the last month. That’s tops off a massive gain of 114% in the last year.

All else being equal, a sharp share price increase should make a stock less attractive to potential investors. While the market sentiment towards a stock is very changeable, in the long run, the share price will tend to move in the same direction as earnings per share. So some would prefer to hold off buying when there is a lot of optimism towards a stock. Perhaps the simplest way to get a read on investors’ expectations of a business is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). Investors have optimistic expectations of companies with higher P/E ratios, compared to companies with lower P/E ratios.

Check out our latest analysis for Beluga Group

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

Beluga Group’s P/E of 11.27 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. The image below shows that Beluga Group has a lower P/E than the average (20.4) P/E for companies in the beverage industry.

MISX:BELU Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 18th 2020
MISX:BELU Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 18th 2020

Beluga Group’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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Beluga Group’s earnings made like a rocket, taking off 59% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 76% annually, over the last three years. So you might say it really deserves to have an above-average P/E ratio.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

How Does Beluga Group’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Beluga Group’s net debt is considerable, at 136% of its market cap. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Bottom Line On Beluga Group’s P/E Ratio

Beluga Group trades on a P/E ratio of 11.3, which is above its market average of 8.7. While its debt levels are rather high, at least its EPS is growing quickly. So despite the debt it is, perhaps, not unreasonable to see a high P/E ratio. What is very clear is that the market has become more optimistic about Beluga Group over the last month, with the P/E ratio rising from 8.6 back then to 11.3 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might mean it’s time to put the stock on a watchlist, or research it. But the contrarian may see it as a missed opportunity.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, ‘In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than Beluga Group. 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).

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.