LHT Holdings Limited (SGX:BEI) is currently trading at a trailing P/E of 4.7x, which is lower than the industry average of 16.5x. While BEI might seem like an attractive stock to buy, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. Today, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it. Check out our latest analysis for LHT Holdings
Breaking down the P/E ratio
The P/E ratio is a popular ratio used in relative valuation since earnings power is a key driver of investment value. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
P/E Calculation for BEI
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
BEI Price-Earnings Ratio = SGD0.66 ÷ SGD0.141 = 4.7x
On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. We preferably want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar features to BEI, such as capital structure and profitability. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. BEI’s P/E of 4.7x is lower than its industry peers (16.5x), which implies that each dollar of BEI’s earnings is being undervalued by investors. As such, our analysis shows that BEI represents an under-priced stock.
Assumptions to be aware of
Before you jump to the conclusion that BEI is the perfect buying opportunity, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to BEI, or else the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you are comparing lower risk firms with BEI, then its P/E would naturally be lower than its peers, as investors would value those with lower risk at a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing BEI to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold true, BEI’s lower P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are overvalued by the market.
What this means for you:
If your personal research into the stock confirms what the P/E ratio is telling you, it might be a good time to add more of BEI to your portfolio. But keep in mind that the usefulness of relative valuation depends on whether you are comfortable with making the assumptions I mentioned above. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Is BEI’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
- Past Track Record: Has BEI been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of BEI’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.
To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.
The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.