Is Bioventix PLC’s (LON:BVXP) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll show how you can use Bioventix PLC’s (LON:BVXP) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Bioventix has a P/E ratio of 36.83. That means that at current prices, buyers pay £36.83 for every £1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Bioventix

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Bioventix:

P/E of 36.83 = £40 ÷ £1.09 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

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 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. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Bioventix shrunk earnings per share by 3.6% last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 26%.

Does Bioventix Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Bioventix has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the biotechs industry average (36.8).

AIM:BVXP Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 24th 2019
AIM:BVXP Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 24th 2019

Bioventix’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

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 Bioventix’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Since Bioventix holds net cash of UK£5.5m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Verdict On Bioventix’s P/E Ratio

Bioventix’s P/E is 36.8 which is above average (16.2) in the GB market. The recent drop in earnings per share might keep value investors away, but the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. Clearly, the high P/E indicates shareholders think it will!

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Bioventix. 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.