Stock Analysis

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited (JSE:APN) Looks Just Right With A 42% Price Jump

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Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited (JSE:APN) shares have continued their recent momentum with a 42% gain in the last month alone. The annual gain comes to 131% following the latest surge, making investors sit up and take notice.

Since its price has surged higher, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings' price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 25.7x might make it look like a strong sell right now compared to the market in South Africa, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios below 11x and even P/E's below 7x are quite common. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly elevated P/E.

Recent times haven't been advantageous for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings as its earnings have been rising slower than most other companies. One possibility is that the P/E is high because investors think this lacklustre earnings performance will improve markedly. If not, then existing shareholders may be very nervous about the viability of the share price.

Check out our latest analysis for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings

JSE:APN Price Based on Past Earnings October 1st 2021
If you'd like to see what analysts are forecasting going forward, you should check out our free report on Aspen Pharmacare Holdings.

What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The High P/E?

There's an inherent assumption that a company should far outperform the market for P/E ratios like Aspen Pharmacare Holdings' to be considered reasonable.

If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a worthy increase of 4.1%. Still, lamentably EPS has fallen 14% in aggregate from three years ago, which is disappointing. Accordingly, shareholders would have felt downbeat about the medium-term rates of earnings growth.

Turning to the outlook, the next three years should generate growth of 33% each year as estimated by the five analysts watching the company. That's shaping up to be materially higher than the 15% per year growth forecast for the broader market.

In light of this, it's understandable that Aspen Pharmacare Holdings' P/E sits above the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are expecting this strong future growth and are willing to pay more for the stock.

The Final Word

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings' P/E is flying high just like its stock has during the last month. Using the price-to-earnings ratio alone to determine if you should sell your stock isn't sensible, however it can be a practical guide to the company's future prospects.

As we suspected, our examination of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings' analyst forecasts revealed that its superior earnings outlook is contributing to its high P/E. At this stage investors feel the potential for a deterioration in earnings isn't great enough to justify a lower P/E ratio. Unless these conditions change, they will continue to provide strong support to the share price.

Don't forget that there may be other risks. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Aspen Pharmacare Holdings that you should be aware of.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with a strong growth track record, trading on a P/E below 20x.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Aspen Pharmacare Holdings is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

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.

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