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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Adevinta ASA’s (OB:ADEB) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Adevinta has a P/E ratio of 0.44. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 227%.

### How Do I Calculate Adevinta’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price (in reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

P/E of 0.44 = €10.64 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, EUR ) ÷ €24.2 (Based on the year to June 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 NOK1 the company has earned over the last year. All else being equal, it’s better to pay a low price — but as Warren Buffett said, ‘It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.’

### Does Adevinta Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (27) for companies in the interactive media and services industry is higher than Adevinta’s P/E.

This suggests that market participants think Adevinta will underperform other companies in its industry.

### 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. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Adevinta saw earnings per share decrease by 58% last year.

### A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. 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).

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).

Adevinta has net debt worth just 1.2% of its market capitalization. The market might award it a higher P/E ratio if it had net cash, but its unlikely this low level of net borrowing is having a big impact on the P/E multiple.

### The Bottom Line On Adevinta’s P/E Ratio

Adevinta has a P/E of 0.4. That’s below the average in the NO market, which is 13.2. Since it only carries a modest debt load, it’s likely the low expectations implied by the P/E ratio arise from the lack of recent earnings growth.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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