Is Cortina Holdings Limited's (SGX:C41) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Cortina Holdings Limited's (SGX:C41) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. What is Cortina Holdings's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 7.89. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 13%.

See our latest analysis for Cortina Holdings

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Cortina Holdings:

P/E of 7.89 = SGD1.38 ÷ SGD0.17 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

In the last year, Cortina Holdings grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 58% gain was both fast and well deserved. And earnings per share have improved by 28% annually, over the last three years. So we'd absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

How Does Cortina Holdings's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Cortina Holdings has a lower P/E than the average (10.3) in the specialty retail industry classification.

SGX:C41 Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 15th 2019

Cortina Holdings's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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).

So What Does Cortina Holdings's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Cortina Holdings has net cash of S$10.0m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On Cortina Holdings's P/E Ratio

Cortina Holdings's P/E is 7.9 which is below average (12.3) in the SG market. The net cash position gives plenty of options to the business, and the recent improvement in EPS is good to see. The relatively low P/E ratio implies the market is pessimistic.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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 modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.