South Ocean Holdings Limited (JSE:SOH) shares have had a horrible month, losing 27% after a relatively good period beforehand. Still, a bad month hasn't completely ruined the past year with the stock gaining 71%, which is great even in a bull market.
After such a large drop in price, South Ocean Holdings may be sending very bullish signals at the moment with its price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 3.2x, since almost half of all companies in South Africa have P/E ratios greater than 10x and even P/E's higher than 16x are not unusual. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so limited.
South Ocean Holdings certainly has been doing a great job lately as it's been growing earnings at a really rapid pace. It might be that many expect the strong earnings performance to degrade substantially, which has repressed the P/E. If that doesn't eventuate, then existing shareholders have reason to be quite optimistic about the future direction of the share price.free report on South Ocean Holdings' earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Is There Any Growth For South Ocean Holdings?
South Ocean Holdings' P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's expected to deliver very poor growth or even falling earnings, and importantly, perform much worse than the market.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered an exceptional 248% gain to the company's bottom line. The latest three year period has also seen an excellent 170% overall rise in EPS, aided by its short-term performance. Accordingly, shareholders would have probably welcomed those medium-term rates of earnings growth.
Comparing that to the market, which is only predicted to deliver 20% growth in the next 12 months, the company's momentum is stronger based on recent medium-term annualised earnings results.
With this information, we find it odd that South Ocean Holdings is trading at a P/E lower than the market. It looks like most investors are not convinced the company can maintain its recent growth rates.
The Bottom Line On South Ocean Holdings' P/E
Shares in South Ocean Holdings have plummeted and its P/E is now low enough to touch the ground. It's argued the price-to-earnings ratio is an inferior measure of value within certain industries, but it can be a powerful business sentiment indicator.
Our examination of South Ocean Holdings revealed its three-year earnings trends aren't contributing to its P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted, given they look better than current market expectations. When we see strong earnings with faster-than-market growth, we assume potential risks are what might be placing significant pressure on the P/E ratio. It appears many are indeed anticipating earnings instability, because the persistence of these recent medium-term conditions would normally provide a boost to the share price.
It is also worth noting that we have found 3 warning signs for South Ocean Holdings that you need to take into consideration.
If these risks are making you reconsider your opinion on South Ocean Holdings, explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.