When close to half the companies in France have price-to-earnings ratios (or "P/E's") below 23x, you may consider Uniti S.A (EPA:ALUNT) as a stock to avoid entirely with its 51.2x P/E ratio. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so lofty.
For instance, Uniti's receding earnings in recent times would have to be some food for thought. One possibility is that the P/E is high because investors think the company will still do enough to outperform the broader market in the near future. If not, then existing shareholders may be quite nervous about the viability of the share price.free report on Uniti's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The High P/E?
Uniti's P/E ratio would be typical for a company that's expected to deliver very strong growth, and importantly, perform much better than the market.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered a frustrating 61% decrease to the company's bottom line. That put a dampener on the good run it was having over the longer-term as its three-year EPS growth is still a noteworthy 25% in total. So we can start by confirming that the company has generally done a good job of growing earnings over that time, even though it had some hiccups along the way.
This is in contrast to the rest of the market, which is expected to grow by 34% over the next year, materially higher than the company's recent medium-term annualised growth rates.
In light of this, it's alarming that Uniti's P/E sits above the majority of other companies. Apparently many investors in the company are way more bullish than recent times would indicate and aren't willing to let go of their stock at any price. There's a good chance existing shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/E falls to levels more in line with recent growth rates.
The Bottom Line On Uniti's P/E
It's argued the price-to-earnings ratio is an inferior measure of value within certain industries, but it can be a powerful business sentiment indicator.
Our examination of Uniti revealed its three-year earnings trends aren't impacting its high P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted, given they look worse than current market expectations. Right now we are increasingly uncomfortable with the high P/E as this earnings performance isn't likely to support such positive sentiment for long. If recent medium-term earnings trends continue, it will place shareholders' investments at significant risk and potential investors in danger of paying an excessive premium.
Having said that, be aware Uniti is showing 4 warning signs in our investment analysis, and 1 of those makes us a bit uncomfortable.
If P/E ratios interest you, you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly and trade on P/E's below 20x.
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