Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. To keep it practical, we’ll show how Japfa Ltd.’s (SGX:UD2) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Japfa has a P/E ratio of 8.39, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 12%.
How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share (in the reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Japfa:
P/E of 8.39 = $0.42 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, USD ) ÷ $0.050 (Based on the year to March 2019.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each SGD1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.
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. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. 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.
Japfa’s 450% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. Having said that, the average EPS growth over the last three years wasn’t so good, coming in at 2.7%.
Does Japfa Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Japfa has a lower P/E than the average (16.1) P/E for companies in the food industry.
This suggests that market participants think Japfa will underperform other companies in its industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Japfa, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
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. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
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 Japfa’s P/E?
Japfa’s net debt is considerable, at 172% of its market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you must keep in mind that these debt levels would usually warrant a relatively low P/E.
The Verdict On Japfa’s P/E Ratio
Japfa has a P/E of 8.4. That’s below the average in the SG market, which is 12.4. The company may have significant debt, but EPS growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Japfa. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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. Thank you for reading.