Do You Know What Schlatter Industries AG’s (VTX:STRN) P/E Ratio Means?

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Schlatter Industries AG’s (VTX:STRN), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Schlatter Industries has a P/E ratio of 12.24, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 8.2%.

View our latest analysis for Schlatter Industries

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Schlatter Industries:

P/E of 12.24 = CHF36.00 ÷ CHF2.94 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price’.

How Does Schlatter Industries’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see Schlatter Industries has a lower P/E than the average (21.9) in the machinery industry classification.

SWX:STRN Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 4th 2020
SWX:STRN Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 4th 2020

This suggests that market participants think Schlatter Industries will underperform other companies in its industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. 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.

Schlatter Industries shrunk earnings per share by 4.4% last year.

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. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Schlatter Industries’s Balance Sheet

Since Schlatter Industries holds net cash of CHF934k, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Verdict On Schlatter Industries’s P/E Ratio

Schlatter Industries has a P/E of 12.2. That’s below the average in the CH market, which is 20.6. The recent drop in earnings per share would almost certainly temper expectations, the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. If it achieves that, then there’s real potential that the low P/E could eventually indicate undervaluation.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Schlatter Industries may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio 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.

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. Thank you for reading.