Don’t Sell PZ Cussons Plc (LON:PZC) Before You Read This

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll show how you can use PZ Cussons Plc’s (LON:PZC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, PZ Cussons has a P/E ratio of 32.54. That means that at current prices, buyers pay £32.54 for every £1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for PZ Cussons

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 PZ Cussons:

P/E of 32.54 = £2.03 ÷ £0.06 (Based on the trailing twelve months to May 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each £1 the company has earned over the last year. 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.

How Does PZ Cussons’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below, PZ Cussons has a higher P/E than the average company (18.8) in the household products industry.

LSE:PZC Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 9th 2020
LSE:PZC Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 9th 2020

PZ Cussons’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

PZ Cussons saw earnings per share decrease by 35% last year. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 22% annually. This might lead to muted expectations.

Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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 PZ Cussons’s P/E?

PZ Cussons has net debt worth 18% of its market capitalization. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Verdict On PZ Cussons’s P/E Ratio

PZ Cussons’s P/E is 32.5 which is above average (18.3) in its market. With a bit of debt, but a lack of recent growth, it’s safe to say the market is expecting improved profit performance from the company, in the next few years.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, ‘In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. 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.

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.