When close to half the companies in Singapore have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") below 15x, you may consider Hor Kew Corporation Limited (SGX:BBP) as a stock to avoid entirely with its 25.9x P/E ratio. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so lofty.
For instance, Hor Kew's receding earnings in recent times would have to be some food for thought. It might be that many expect the company to still outplay most other companies over the coming period, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.free data-rich visualisation to see how the company stacks up on earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Is There Enough Growth For Hor Kew?
The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as steep as Hor Kew's is when the company's growth is on track to outshine the market decidedly.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered a frustrating 42% decrease to the company's bottom line. At least EPS has managed not to go completely backwards from three years ago in aggregate, thanks to the earlier period of growth. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.
Weighing that recent medium-term earnings trajectory against the broader market's one-year forecast for expansion of 22% shows it's noticeably less attractive on an annualised basis.
In light of this, it's alarming that Hor Kew's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are ignoring the fairly limited recent growth rates and are hoping for a turnaround in the company's business prospects. There's a good chance existing shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with recent growth rates.
What We Can Learn From Hor Kew's P/E?
Typically, we'd caution against reading too much into price-to-earnings ratios when settling on investment decisions, though it can reveal plenty about what other market participants think about the company.
Our examination of Hor Kew revealed its three-year earnings trends aren't impacting its high P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted, given they look worse than current market expectations. Right now we are increasingly uncomfortable with the high P/E as this earnings performance isn't likely to support such positive sentiment for long. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it will place shareholders' investments at significant risk and potential investors in danger of paying an excessive premium.
Having said that, be aware Hor Kew is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those is potentially serious.
If these risks are making you reconsider your opinion on Hor Kew, explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there.
If you’re looking to trade Hor Kew, open an account with the lowest-cost* platform trusted by professionals, Interactive Brokers. Their clients from over 200 countries and territories trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account.
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. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.