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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Moulinvest SA's ( EPA:ALMOU ) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Moulinvest's P/E ratio is 6.76 . That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 15%.
How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Moulinvest:
P/E of 6.76 = €4.05 ÷ €0.60 (Based on the year to February 2019.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each €1 of company earnings. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.
Does Moulinvest Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (10.9) for companies in the forestry industry is higher than Moulinvest's P/E.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Moulinvest 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. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling .
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.
Moulinvest shrunk earnings per share by 46% over the last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 2.0% per year over the last five years. This might lead to muted expectations.
Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits
The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.
Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.
Moulinvest's Balance Sheet
Moulinvest's net debt is considerable, at 290% of its market cap. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.
The Verdict On Moulinvest's P/E Ratio
Moulinvest has a P/E of 6.8. That's below the average in the FR market, which is 17.6. 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 have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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. So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.
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 email@example.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.