Don’t Sell HOCHTIEF Aktiengesellschaft (FRA:HOT) Before You Read This

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at HOCHTIEF Aktiengesellschaft’s (FRA:HOT) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, HOCHTIEF’s P/E ratio is 14.3. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €14.3 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for HOCHTIEF

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 HOCHTIEF:

P/E of 14.3 = €115.9 ÷ €8.1 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each €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. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. 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.

Notably, HOCHTIEF grew EPS by a whopping 30% in the last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 51% per year over the last five years. I’d therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.

How Does HOCHTIEF’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 (10.4) for companies in the construction industry is lower than HOCHTIEF’s P/E.

DB:HOT PE PEG Gauge January 7th 19
DB:HOT PE PEG Gauge January 7th 19

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that HOCHTIEF shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. 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

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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 expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

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

HOCHTIEF has net debt worth 28% of its market capitalization. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Bottom Line On HOCHTIEF’s P/E Ratio

HOCHTIEF has a P/E of 14.3. That’s below the average in the DE market, which is 17.1. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low. Since analysts are predicting growth will continue, one might expect to see a higher P/E so it may be worth looking closer.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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.

But note: HOCHTIEF 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).

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.