Do You Like Allianz SE (FRA:ALV) At This P/E Ratio?

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Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll look at Allianz SE’s (FRA:ALV) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Allianz has a P/E ratio of 12.27. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €12.27 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Allianz

How Do You Calculate Allianz’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Allianz:

P/E of 12.27 = €216.1 ÷ €17.62 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

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 a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Allianz has a lower P/E than the average (13.3) in the insurance industry classification.

DB:ALV Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 12th 2019
DB:ALV Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 12th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Allianz shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification.

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 even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Allianz increased earnings per share by an impressive 12% over the last twelve months. And earnings per share have improved by 6.1% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

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.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

Allianz’s Balance Sheet

Allianz has net debt worth 14% of its market capitalization. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Verdict On Allianz’s P/E Ratio

Allianz has a P/E of 12.3. That’s below the average in the DE market, which is 19.9. The company hasn’t stretched its balance sheet, and earnings growth was good last year. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Allianz. 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).

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.