A Sliding Share Price Has Us Looking At Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A.’s (EPA:SGO) P/E Ratio

Unfortunately for some shareholders, the Compagnie de Saint-Gobain (EPA:SGO) share price has dived 49% in the last thirty days. Indeed the recent decline has arguably caused some bitterness for shareholders who have held through the 44% drop over twelve months.

All else being equal, a share price drop should make a stock more attractive to potential investors. 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). So, on certain occasions, long term focussed investors try to take advantage of pessimistic expectations to buy shares at a better price. One way to gauge market expectations of a stock is to look at its Price to Earnings Ratio (PE Ratio). A high P/E implies that investors have high expectations of what a company can achieve compared to a company with a low P/E ratio.

Check out our latest analysis for Compagnie de Saint-Gobain

How Does Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s P/E of 6.99 indicates relatively low sentiment towards the stock. If you look at the image below, you can see Compagnie de Saint-Gobain has a lower P/E than the average (13.1) in the building industry classification.

ENXTPA:SGO Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 20th 2020
ENXTPA:SGO Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 20th 2020

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Compagnie de Saint-Gobain shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Since the market seems unimpressed with Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. 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

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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s 257% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive. The cherry on top is that the five year growth rate was an impressive 25% per year. With that kind of growth rate we would generally expect a high P/E ratio.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

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).

Is Debt Impacting Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s P/E?

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s net debt is 74% of its market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.

The Verdict On Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s P/E Ratio

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s P/E is 7.0 which is below average (13.0) in the FR market. The company may have significant debt, but EPS growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue. Given Compagnie de Saint-Gobain’s P/E ratio has declined from 13.7 to 7.0 in the last month, we know for sure that the market is more worried about the business today, than it was back then. For those who prefer invest in growth, this stock apparently offers limited promise, but the deep value investors may find the pessimism around this stock enticing.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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