Is Bonterra Energy Corp.’s (TSE:BNE) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Bonterra Energy Corp.’s (TSE:BNE) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is Bonterra Energy’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 42.28. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 2.4%.

View our latest analysis for Bonterra Energy

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 Bonterra Energy:

P/E of 42.28 = CA$6.63 ÷ CA$0.16 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each CA$1 of company earnings. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Bonterra Energy shrunk earnings per share by 3.7% last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 42% per year over the last five years. So it would be surprising to see a high P/E.

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

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. The image below shows that Bonterra Energy has a higher P/E than the average (14.4) P/E for companies in the oil and gas industry.

TSX:BNE Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 14th 2019
TSX:BNE Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 14th 2019

That means that the market expects Bonterra Energy will outperform other companies in its industry. 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

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. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

So What Does Bonterra Energy’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Bonterra Energy’s net debt is considerable, at 141% of its market cap. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Bottom Line On Bonterra Energy’s P/E Ratio

Bonterra Energy trades on a P/E ratio of 42.3, which is above the CA market average of 14.6. With relatively high debt, and no earnings per share growth over twelve months, it’s safe to say the market believes the company will improve its earnings growth in the future.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Bonterra Energy. 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.