Read This Before You Buy Roche Holding AG (VTX:ROG) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Roche Holding AG’s (VTX:ROG), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, Roche Holding’s P/E ratio is 21.85. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 4.6%.

View our latest analysis for Roche Holding

How Do I Calculate Roche Holding’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Roche Holding:

P/E of 21.85 = CHF268.65 ÷ CHF12.3 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

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

Does Roche 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. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (22) for companies in the pharmaceuticals industry is roughly the same as Roche Holding’s P/E.

SWX:ROG Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 18th 2019
SWX:ROG Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 18th 2019

That indicates that the market expects Roche Holding will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

It’s great to see that Roche Holding grew EPS by 21% in the last year. And it has improved its earnings per share by 5.7% per year over the last three years. So one might expect an above average P/E ratio. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 1.4% a year, over 5 years.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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 Roche Holding’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Roche Holding’s net debt is 2.5% of its market cap. The market might award it a higher P/E ratio if it had net cash, but its unlikely this low level of net borrowing is having a big impact on the P/E multiple.

The Verdict On Roche Holding’s P/E Ratio

Roche Holding has a P/E of 21.9. That’s higher than the average in its market, which is 18.2. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and its recent EPS growth very solid. So on this analysis it seems reasonable that its P/E ratio is above average.

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.’ So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Roche Holding 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.