Is Skue Sparebank’s (OB:SKUE) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Skue Sparebank’s (OB:SKUE) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Skuerebank’s P/E ratio is 8.25. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying NOK8.25 for every NOK1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Skuerebank

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Skuerebank:

P/E of 8.25 = NOK152 ÷ NOK18.43 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each NOK1 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

If earnings fall then in the future the ‘E’ will be lower. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

Skuerebank saw earnings per share improve by -8.8% last year. But earnings per share are down 15% per year over the last five years.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Skuerebank has a lower P/E than the average (9.4) P/E for companies in the banks industry.

OB:SKUE Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 22nd 2019
OB:SKUE Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 22nd 2019

This suggests that market participants think Skuerebank will underperform other companies in its industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and 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. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in 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.

Is Debt Impacting Skuerebank’s P/E?

Skuerebank has net debt worth a very significant 246% of its market capitalization. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Verdict On Skuerebank’s P/E Ratio

Skuerebank’s P/E is 8.2 which is below average (13.8) in the NO market. The meaningful debt load is probably contributing to low expectations, even though it has improved earnings recently.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, ‘In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.’ So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

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