The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Sonaecom, SGPS, S.A.'s (ELI:SNC) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Sonaecom SGPS's P/E ratio is 20.11. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying €20.11 for every €1 in prior year profit.
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 Sonaecom SGPS:
P/E of 20.11 = €2.24 ÷ €0.11 (Based on the year to September 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 necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.
How Does Sonaecom SGPS's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. As you can see below Sonaecom SGPS has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the wireless telecom industry, which is 21.4.
Its P/E ratio suggests that Sonaecom SGPS shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
Sonaecom SGPS's earnings per share fell by 38% in the last twelve months. But over the longer term (3 years), earnings per share have increased by 373%. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 4.2% per year over the last five years. This could justify a pessimistic P/E.
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. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on 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.
So What Does Sonaecom SGPS's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Sonaecom SGPS has net cash of €263m. This is fairly high at 38% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.
The Verdict On Sonaecom SGPS's P/E Ratio
Sonaecom SGPS has a P/E of 20.1. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 16.1. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.
When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.
You might be able to find a better buy than Sonaecom SGPS. 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).
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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