Does BE Semiconductor Industries N.V.’s (AMS:BESI) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

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 BE Semiconductor Industries N.V.’s (AMS:BESI) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is BE Semiconductor Industries’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 15.82. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 6.3%.

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See our latest analysis for BE Semiconductor 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 BE Semiconductor Industries:

P/E of 15.82 = €23.19 ÷ €1.47 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

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 isn’t necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

BE Semiconductor Industries’s earnings per share fell by 41% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 41% per year over the last five years.

Does BE Semiconductor 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. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (24.5) for companies in the semiconductor industry is higher than BE Semiconductor Industries’s P/E.

ENXTAM:BESI Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 16th 2019
ENXTAM:BESI Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 16th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that BE Semiconductor Industries shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. 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).

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Is Debt Impacting BE Semiconductor Industries’s P/E?

With net cash of €170m, BE Semiconductor Industries has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 10% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On BE Semiconductor Industries’s P/E Ratio

BE Semiconductor Industries trades on a P/E ratio of 15.8, which is below the NL market average of 17.2. Falling earnings per share are likely to be keeping potential buyers away, the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If that occurs, the current low P/E could prove to be temporary.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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.

But note: BE Semiconductor Industries may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio 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.