Why Huber+Suhner AG’s (VTX:HUBN) High P/E Ratio Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Huber+Suhner AG’s (VTX:HUBN) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Huber+Suhner’s P/E ratio is 26.51. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying CHF26.51 for every CHF1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Huber+Suhner

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Huber+Suhner:

P/E of 26.51 = CHF83.5 ÷ CHF3.15 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each CHF1 of company earnings. 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. 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.

It’s nice to see that Huber+Suhner grew EPS by a stonking 45% in the last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 6.7%. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Huber+Suhner’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (18.8) for companies in the electrical industry is lower than Huber+Suhner’s P/E.

SWX:HUBN Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 21st 2019
SWX:HUBN Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 21st 2019

That means that the market expects Huber+Suhner will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

Is Debt Impacting Huber+Suhner’s P/E?

Since Huber+Suhner holds net cash of CHF199m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Verdict On Huber+Suhner’s P/E Ratio

Huber+Suhner trades on a P/E ratio of 26.5, which is above the CH market average of 18. Its net cash position supports a higher P/E ratio, as does its solid recent earnings growth. So it is not surprising the market is probably extrapolating recent growth well into the future, reflected in the relatively high P/E ratio.

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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Huber+Suhner may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.