Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Schneider Electric S.E. (EPA:SU) Still Undervalued?

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 Schneider Electric S.E.’s (EPA:SU) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is Schneider Electric’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 16.74. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 6.0%.

View our latest analysis for Schneider Electric

How Do I Calculate Schneider Electric’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Schneider Electric:

P/E of 16.74 = €73.400 ÷ €4.384 (Based on the year to December 2019.)

(Note: the above calculation results may not be precise due to rounding.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each €1 of company earnings. 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 Schneider Electric’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (15.0) for companies in the electrical industry is lower than Schneider Electric’s P/E.

ENXTPA:SU Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 18th 2020
ENXTPA:SU Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 18th 2020

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Schneider Electric shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Schneider Electric increased earnings per share by 3.1% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 7.2% annually, 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. 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.

Schneider Electric’s Balance Sheet

Schneider Electric’s net debt is 9.3% of its market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Verdict On Schneider Electric’s P/E Ratio

Schneider Electric has a P/E of 16.7. That’s higher than the average in its market, which is 13.3. Given the debt is only modest, and earnings are already moving in the right direction, it’s not surprising that the market expects continued improvement.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Schneider Electric. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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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