When close to half the companies in the United Kingdom have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") above 17x, you may consider Blue Star Capital plc (LON:BLU) as a highly attractive investment with its 8.1x P/E ratio. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly reduced P/E.
For instance, Blue Star Capital's receding earnings in recent times would have to be some food for thought. One possibility is that the P/E is low because investors think the company won't do enough to avoid underperforming the broader market in the near future. However, if this doesn't eventuate then existing shareholders may be feeling optimistic about the future direction of the share price.
We don't have analyst forecasts, but you can see how recent trends are setting up the company for the future by checking out our free report on Blue Star Capital's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Is There Any Growth For Blue Star Capital?
In order to justify its P/E ratio, Blue Star Capital would need to produce anemic growth that's substantially trailing the market.
If we review the last year of earnings, dishearteningly the company's profits fell to the tune of 2.0%. This means it has also seen a slide in earnings over the longer-term as EPS is down 47% in total over the last three years. Accordingly, shareholders would have felt downbeat about the medium-term rates of earnings growth.
In contrast to the company, the rest of the market is expected to grow by 16% over the next year, which really puts the company's recent medium-term earnings decline into perspective.
With this information, we are not surprised that Blue Star Capital is trading at a P/E lower than the market. However, we think shrinking earnings are unlikely to lead to a stable P/E over the longer term, which could set up shareholders for future disappointment. Even just maintaining these prices could be difficult to achieve as recent earnings trends are already weighing down the shares.
The Key Takeaway
While the price-to-earnings ratio shouldn't be the defining factor in whether you buy a stock or not, it's quite a capable barometer of earnings expectations.
We've established that Blue Star Capital maintains its low P/E on the weakness of its sliding earnings over the medium-term, as expected. Right now shareholders are accepting the low P/E as they concede future earnings probably won't provide any pleasant surprises. Unless the recent medium-term conditions improve, they will continue to form a barrier for the share price around these levels.
There are also other vital risk factors to consider and we've discovered 5 warning signs for Blue Star Capital (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
If P/E ratios interest you, you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly and trade on P/E's below 20x.
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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.