Is Severn Bancorp, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SVBI) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll look at Severn Bancorp, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:SVBI) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Severn Bancorp has a price to earnings ratio of 11.89, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 8.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for Severn Bancorp

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Severn Bancorp:

P/E of 11.89 = USD9.10 ÷ USD0.77 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does Severn Bancorp Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (14.1) for companies in the mortgage industry is higher than Severn Bancorp’s P/E.

NasdaqCM:SVBI Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 28th 2020
NasdaqCM:SVBI Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 28th 2020

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Severn Bancorp 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

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

Severn Bancorp’s earnings made like a rocket, taking off 74% last year. Regrettably, the longer term performance is poor, with EPS down per year over 3 years.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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.

How Does Severn Bancorp’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Severn Bancorp has net cash of US$14m. This is fairly high at 12% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Bottom Line On Severn Bancorp’s P/E Ratio

Severn Bancorp’s P/E is 11.9 which is below average (18.3) in the US market. The net cash position gives plenty of options to the business, and the recent improvement in EPS is good to see. One might conclude that the market is a bit pessimistic, given the low P/E ratio.

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. We don’t have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Severn Bancorp 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.