With a price-to-earnings (or “P/E”) ratio of 43.4x Topps Tiles Plc (LON:TPT) may be sending very bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in the United Kingdom have P/E ratios under 16x and even P/E’s lower than 9x are not unusual. However, the P/E might be quite high for a reason and it requires further investigation to determine if it’s justified.
For instance, Topps Tiles’ receding earnings in recent times would have to be some food for thought. It might be that many expect the company to still outplay most other companies over the coming period, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. If not, then existing shareholders may be quite nervous about the viability of the share price.free report on Topps Tiles’ earnings, revenue and cash flow.
How Is Topps Tiles’ Growth Trending?
The only time you’d be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as steep as Topps Tiles’ is when the company’s growth is on track to outshine the market decidedly.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered a frustrating 70% decrease to the company’s bottom line. As a result, earnings from three years ago have also fallen 83% overall. Therefore, it’s fair to say the earnings growth recently has been undesirable for the company.
Comparing that to the market, which is predicted to shrink 6.5% in the next 12 months, the company’s downward momentum is still inferior based on recent medium-term annualised earnings results.
With this information, it’s strange that Topps Tiles is trading at a higher P/E in comparison. In general, when earnings shrink rapidly the P/E premium often shrinks too, which could set up shareholders for future disappointment. There’s potential for the P/E to fall to lower levels if the company doesn’t improve its profitability, which would be difficult to do with the current market outlook.
The Bottom Line On Topps Tiles’ P/E
While the price-to-earnings ratio shouldn’t be the defining factor in whether you buy a stock or not, it’s quite a capable barometer of earnings expectations.
Our examination of Topps Tiles revealed its sharp three-year contraction in earnings isn’t impacting its high P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted, given the market is set to shrink less severely. When we see below average earnings, we suspect the share price is at risk of declining, sending the high P/E lower. We’re also cautious about the company’s ability to stay its recent medium-term course and resist even greater pain to its business from the broader market turmoil. Unless the company’s relative performance improves markedly, it’s very challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.
Don’t forget that there may be other risks. For instance, we’ve identified 4 warning signs for Topps Tiles (2 are a bit concerning) you should be aware of.
You might be able to find a better investment than Topps Tiles. If you want a selection of possible candidates, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20x (but have proven they can grow earnings).
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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