Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. To keep it practical, we’ll show how HeidelbergCement AG’s (ETR:HEI) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, HeidelbergCement’s P/E ratio is 10.58. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying €10.58 for every €1 in prior year profit.
Check out our latest analysis for HeidelbergCement
How Do You Calculate HeidelbergCement’s P/E Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for HeidelbergCement:
P/E of 10.58 = EUR53.84 ÷ EUR5.09 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each EUR1 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 Does HeidelbergCement’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (10.9) for companies in the basic materials industry is roughly the same as HeidelbergCement’s P/E.
HeidelbergCement’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company’s P/E multiple. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.
HeidelbergCement shrunk earnings per share by 9.5% last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 22% per year over the last five years.
Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits
One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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).
HeidelbergCement’s Balance Sheet
Net debt totals 80% of HeidelbergCement’s market cap. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.
The Verdict On HeidelbergCement’s P/E Ratio
HeidelbergCement trades on a P/E ratio of 10.6, which is below the DE market average of 19.7. When you consider that the company has significant debt, and didn’t grow EPS last year, it isn’t surprising that the market has muted expectations.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at [email protected] 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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