To the annoyance of some shareholders, SA Catana Group (EPA:CATG) shares are down a considerable 36% in the last month. Even longer term holders have taken a real hit with the stock declining 8.9% in the last year.
Assuming nothing else has changed, a lower share price makes a stock more attractive to potential buyers. In the long term, share prices tend to follow earnings per share, but in the short term prices bounce around in response to short term factors (which are not always obvious). The implication here is that long term investors have an opportunity when expectations of a company are too low. Perhaps the simplest way to get a read on investors' expectations of a business is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). A high P/E ratio means that investors have a high expectation about future growth, while a low P/E ratio means they have low expectations about future growth.
Does SA Catana Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
We can tell from its P/E ratio of 7.10 that sentiment around SA Catana Group isn't particularly high. The image below shows that SA Catana Group has a lower P/E than the average (9.8) P/E for companies in the leisure industry.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that SA Catana Group shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
SA Catana Group's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 154% last year.
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. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.
While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.
How Does SA Catana Group's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?
With net cash of €9.3m, SA Catana Group has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 14% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.
The Verdict On SA Catana Group's P/E Ratio
SA Catana Group has a P/E of 7.1. That's below the average in the FR market, which is 13.5. It grew its EPS nicely over the last year, and the healthy balance sheet implies there is more potential for growth. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio. What can be absolutely certain is that the market has become more pessimistic about SA Catana Group over the last month, with the P/E ratio falling from 11.0 back then to 7.1 today. For those who prefer to invest with the flow of momentum, that might be a bad sign, but for deep value investors this stock might justify some research.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
You might be able to find a better buy than SA Catana Group. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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