Does SpareBank 1 BV’s (OB:SBVG) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

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 SpareBank 1 BV’s (OB:SBVG) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. SpareBank 1 BV has a price to earnings ratio of 6.65, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 15%.

Check out our latest analysis for SpareBank 1 BV

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for SpareBank 1 BV:

P/E of 6.65 = NOK37.6 ÷ NOK5.65 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

It’s nice to see that SpareBank 1 BV grew EPS by a stonking 29% in the last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 3 years is 130%. I’d therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 16%, annually, over 5 years.

Does SpareBank 1 BV Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (8.5) for companies in the banks industry is higher than SpareBank 1 BV’s P/E.

OB:SBVG Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 8th 2019
OB:SBVG Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 8th 2019

This suggests that market participants think SpareBank 1 BV will underperform other companies in its industry.

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

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. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

Is Debt Impacting SpareBank 1 BV’s P/E?

SpareBank 1 BV has net debt worth 90% of its market capitalization. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Bottom Line On SpareBank 1 BV’s P/E Ratio

SpareBank 1 BV has a P/E of 6.7. That’s below the average in the NO market, which is 13.7. While the EPS growth last year was strong, the significant debt levels reduce the number of options available to management. If the company can continue to grow earnings, then the current P/E may be unjustifiably low.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.