# Here’s How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand Arcadis NV (AMS:ARCAD)

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Arcadis NV’s (AMS:ARCAD) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, Arcadis’s P/E ratio is 13.31. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.5%.

### How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

P/E of 13.31 = €11.1 ÷ €0.83 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

### 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. 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Arcadis increased earnings per share by an impressive 22% over the last twelve months. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 13%, annually, over 5 years.

### How Does Arcadis’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Arcadis has a lower P/E than the average (17) P/E for companies in the construction industry.

This suggests that market participants think Arcadis will underperform other companies in its industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Arcadis, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

### 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. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

### Is Debt Impacting Arcadis’s P/E?

Arcadis’s net debt is 48% of its market cap. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

### The Verdict On Arcadis’s P/E Ratio

Arcadis trades on a P/E ratio of 13.3, which is below the NL market average of 16.5. The EPS growth last year was strong, and debt levels are quite reasonable. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified.

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. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold they key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Arcadis. 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).

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.