Does Rawlplug SA’s (WSE:RWL) 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). We’ll look at Rawlplug SA’s (WSE:RWL) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Rawlplug has a price to earnings ratio of 8.56, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for Rawlplug

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 Rawlplug:

P/E of 8.56 = PLN8.2 ÷ PLN0.96 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each PLN1 of company earnings. 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. Earnings growth means that in the future the ‘E’ will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

It’s great to see that Rawlplug grew EPS by 18% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 28% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (9.7) for companies in the machinery industry is higher than Rawlplug’s P/E.

WSE:RWL PE PEG Gauge October 26th 18
WSE:RWL PE PEG Gauge October 26th 18

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Rawlplug shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

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

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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 taking on debt (or spending its remaining 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).

Rawlplug’s Balance Sheet

Net debt totals a substantial 101% of Rawlplug’s market cap. If you want to compare its P/E ratio to other companies, you must keep in mind that these debt levels would usually warrant a relatively low P/E.

The Verdict On Rawlplug’s P/E Ratio

Rawlplug’s P/E is 8.6 which is below average (10.4) in the PL market. The company may have significant debt, but EPS growth was good last year. If it continues to grow, then the current low P/E may prove to be unjustified.

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 they 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.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.