Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Carel Industries S.p.A. (BIT:CRL) Still Undervalued?

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Carel Industries S.p.A.’s (BIT:CRL), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, Carel Industries’s P/E ratio is 36.96. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying €36.96 for every €1 in prior year profit.

Check out our latest analysis for Carel Industries

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Carel Industries:

P/E of 36.96 = €12.44 ÷ €0.34 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 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 necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

Does Carel Industries 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. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.8) for companies in the electronic industry is lower than Carel Industries’s P/E.

BIT:CRL Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 14th 2019
BIT:CRL Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 14th 2019

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

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Carel Industries increased earnings per share by an impressive 12% over the last twelve months. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 9.5% per year over the last five years. This could arguably justify a relatively high P/E ratio. Shareholders have some reason to be optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

So What Does Carel Industries’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals just 6.1% of Carel Industries’s market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Verdict On Carel Industries’s P/E Ratio

Carel Industries trades on a P/E ratio of 37.0, which is above its market average of 16.8. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is very good. Therefore, it’s not particularly surprising that it has a above average P/E ratio.

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 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 find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E below 20.

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.