Is Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding AG’s (VIE:OESD) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding AG’s (VIE:OESD) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding’s P/E ratio is 37.96. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €37.96 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding:

P/E of 37.96 = €18.6 ÷ €0.49 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 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 isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding had pretty flat EPS growth in the last year. And EPS is down 10% a year, over the last 3 years. So you wouldn’t expect a very high P/E.

Does Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding 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. The image below shows that Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding has a higher P/E than the average (16.7) P/E for companies in the electronic industry.

WBAG:OESD Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 26th 2019
WBAG:OESD Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 26th 2019

Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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).

So What Does Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding has net debt worth just 6.0% of its market capitalization. So it doesn’t have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding’s P/E Ratio

Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding has a P/E of 38. That’s higher than the average in the AT market, which is 14.4. With modest debt relative to its size, and modest earnings growth, the market is likely expecting sustained long-term growth, if not a near-term improvement.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.’ Although we don’t have analyst forecasts, you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Österreichische Staatsdruckerei Holding. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.