SW Umwelttechnik Stoiser & Wolschner AG (WBAG:SWUT) is trading with a trailing P/E of 6.4x, which is lower than the industry average of 15.9x. While SWUT might seem like an attractive stock to buy, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. In this article, I will deconstruct the P/E ratio and highlight what you need to be careful of when using the P/E ratio. View our latest analysis for SW Umwelttechnik Stoiser & Wolschner
Demystifying the P/E ratio
The P/E ratio is one of many ratios used in relative valuation. By comparing a stock’s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.
Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share
P/E Calculation for SWUT
Price per share = €10.8
Earnings per share = €1.691
∴ Price-Earnings Ratio = €10.8 ÷ €1.691 = 6.4x
On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. Ultimately, our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to SWUT, such as company lifetime and products sold. One way of gathering a peer group is to use firms in the same industry, which is what I’ll do. Since it is expected that similar companies have similar P/E ratios, we can come to some conclusions about the stock if the ratios are different.
At 6.4x, SWUT’s P/E is lower than its industry peers (15.9x). This implies that investors are undervaluing each dollar of SWUT’s earnings. As such, our analysis shows that SWUT represents an under-priced stock.
A few caveats
While our conclusion might prompt you to buy SWUT immediately, there are two important assumptions you should be aware of. The first is that our peer group actually contains companies that are similar to SWUT. If this isn’t the case, the difference in P/E could be due to some other factors. For example, if you inadvertently compared lower risk firms with SWUT, then investors would naturally value SWUT at a lower price since it is a riskier investment. Similarly, if you accidentally compared higher growth firms with SWUT, investors would also value SWUT at a lower price since it is a lower growth investment. Both scenarios would explain why SWUT has a lower P/E ratio than its peers. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing SWUT to are fairly valued by the market. If this assumption does not hold true, SWUT’s lower P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are being overvalued by the market.
What this means for you:
You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current undervaluation could signal a good buying opportunity to increase your exposure to SWUT. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:
- Financial Health: Is SWUT’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
- Past Track Record: Has SWUT been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of SWUT’s historicals for more clarity.
- Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.