Should You Be Tempted To Sell Basler Aktiengesellschaft (ETR:BSL) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Basler Aktiengesellschaft’s (ETR:BSL) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Based on the last twelve months, Basler’s P/E ratio is 28.34. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €28.34 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Basler

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Basler:

P/E of 28.34 = €150 ÷ €5.29 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each €1 the company has earned over the last year. 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

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. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Basler’s earnings per share fell by 21% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 29% per year over the last five years.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Basler has a higher P/E than the average (22.4) P/E for companies in the electronic industry.

XTRA:BSL Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 1st 2019
XTRA:BSL Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 1st 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Basler shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. 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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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).

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

Basler has net cash of €2.1m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On Basler’s P/E Ratio

Basler trades on a P/E ratio of 28.3, which is above the DE market average of 18.8. The recent drop in earnings per share would make some investors cautious, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Basler. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.