Does Enel SpA’s (BIT:ENEL) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Enel SpA’s (BIT:ENEL) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is Enel’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 11.53. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 8.7%.

View our latest analysis for Enel

How Do I Calculate Enel’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Enel:

P/E of 11.53 = €5.55 ÷ €0.48 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company’s P/E multiple. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Enel increased earnings per share by a whopping 26% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 7.0% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. As you can see below Enel has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the electric utilities industry, which is 11.6.

BIT:ENEL Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 13th 2019
BIT:ENEL Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 13th 2019

Its P/E ratio suggests that Enel shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. 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.

Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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).

Enel’s Balance Sheet

Enel’s net debt is 94% of its market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you should absolutely keep in mind it has significant borrowings.

The Verdict On Enel’s P/E Ratio

Enel has a P/E of 11.5. That’s below the average in the IT market, which is 16.5. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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.