# Here’s How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT)

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Beach Energy Limited’s (ASX:BPT) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Beach Energy has a P/E ratio of 18.56, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 5.4%.

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

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Beach Energy:

P/E of 18.56 = A\$1.7 ÷ A\$0.092 (Based on the year to June 2018.)

### Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.’

### How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Beach Energy’s earnings per share fell by 56% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 4.6% per year over the last five years.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (19.9) for companies in the oil and gas industry is roughly the same as Beach Energy’s P/E.

Its P/E ratio suggests that Beach Energy shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Checking factors such as the tenure of the board and management could help you form your own view on if that will happen.

### 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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining 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).

### Is Debt Impacting Beach Energy’s P/E?

Net debt totals 16% of Beach Energy’s market cap. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.

### The Bottom Line On Beach Energy’s P/E Ratio

Beach Energy has a P/E of 18.6. That’s higher than the average in the AU market, which is 15.2. With some debt but no EPS growth last year, the market has high expectations of future profits.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.