Don’t Sell Intact Financial Corporation (TSE:IFC) Before You Read This

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 Intact Financial Corporation’s (TSE:IFC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Intact Financial has a price to earnings ratio of 20.95, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 4.8%.

See our latest analysis for Intact Financial

How Do I Calculate Intact Financial’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Intact Financial:

P/E of 20.95 = CA$98.74 ÷ CA$4.71 (Based on the year to September 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. 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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

Intact Financial’s earnings per share fell by 13% in the last twelve months. But EPS is up 4.2% over the last 5 years.

How Does Intact Financial’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (11.5) for companies in the insurance industry is lower than Intact Financial’s P/E.

TSX:IFC PE PEG Gauge December 20th 18
TSX:IFC PE PEG Gauge December 20th 18

That means that the market expects Intact Financial will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and 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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

How Does Intact Financial’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 12% of Intact Financial’s market cap. That’s enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you’re comparing it to companies without debt.

The Verdict On Intact Financial’s P/E Ratio

Intact Financial has a P/E of 20.9. That’s higher than the average in the CA market, which is 12.9. With a bit of debt, but a lack of recent growth, it’s safe to say the market is expecting improved profit performance from the company, in the next few years.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. 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 Intact Financial. 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.