Illumina, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ILMN) Share Price Could Signal Some Risk

Simply Wall St · 07/01 10:03

It's not a stretch to say that Illumina, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:ILMN) price-to-sales (or "P/S") ratio of 3.7x right now seems quite "middle-of-the-road" for companies in the Life Sciences industry in the United States, where the median P/S ratio is around 3.1x. However, investors might be overlooking a clear opportunity or potential setback if there is no rational basis for the P/S.

Check out our latest analysis for Illumina

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NasdaqGS:ILMN Price to Sales Ratio vs Industry July 1st 2024

How Illumina Has Been Performing

Recent times have been pleasing for Illumina as its revenue has risen in spite of the industry's average revenue going into reverse. One possibility is that the P/S ratio is moderate because investors think the company's revenue will be less resilient moving forward. Those who are bullish on Illumina will be hoping that this isn't the case, so that they can pick up the stock at a slightly lower valuation.

Want the full picture on analyst estimates for the company? Then our free report on Illumina will help you uncover what's on the horizon.

What Are Revenue Growth Metrics Telling Us About The P/S?

In order to justify its P/S ratio, Illumina would need to produce growth that's similar to the industry.

Taking a look back first, we see that there was hardly any revenue growth to speak of for the company over the past year. Fortunately, a few good years before that means that it was still able to grow revenue by 29% in total over the last three years. So it appears to us that the company has had a mixed result in terms of growing revenue over that time.

Shifting to the future, estimates from the nine analysts covering the company suggest revenue should grow by 4.7% per year over the next three years. Meanwhile, the rest of the industry is forecast to expand by 6.8% each year, which is noticeably more attractive.

In light of this, it's curious that Illumina's P/S sits in line with the majority of other companies. It seems most investors are ignoring the fairly limited growth expectations and are willing to pay up for exposure to the stock. Maintaining these prices will be difficult to achieve as this level of revenue growth is likely to weigh down the shares eventually.

The Key Takeaway

We'd say the price-to-sales ratio's power isn't primarily as a valuation instrument but rather to gauge current investor sentiment and future expectations.

When you consider that Illumina's revenue growth estimates are fairly muted compared to the broader industry, it's easy to see why we consider it unexpected to be trading at its current P/S ratio. At present, we aren't confident in the P/S as the predicted future revenues aren't likely to support a more positive sentiment for long. Circumstances like this present a risk to current and prospective investors who may see share prices fall if the low revenue growth impacts the sentiment.

A lot of potential risks can sit within a company's balance sheet. You can assess many of the main risks through our free balance sheet analysis for Illumina with six simple checks.

Of course, profitable companies with a history of great earnings growth are generally safer bets. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have reasonable P/E ratios and have grown earnings strongly.