With a price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 46.4x Front Ventures AB (publ) (NGM:FRNT B) may be sending very bearish signals at the moment, given that almost half of all companies in Sweden have P/E ratios under 17x and even P/E's lower than 9x are not unusual. Nonetheless, we'd need to dig a little deeper to determine if there is a rational basis for the highly elevated P/E.
For instance, Front Ventures' receding earnings in recent times would have to be some food for thought. It might be that many expect the company to still outplay most other companies over the coming period, which has kept the P/E from collapsing. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.free report on Front Ventures will help you shine a light on its historical performance.
What Are Growth Metrics Telling Us About The High P/E?
There's an inherent assumption that a company should far outperform the market for P/E ratios like Front Ventures' to be considered reasonable.
Retrospectively, the last year delivered a frustrating 49% decrease to the company's bottom line. Unfortunately, that's brought it right back to where it started three years ago with EPS growth being virtually non-existent overall during that time. Therefore, it's fair to say that earnings growth has been inconsistent recently for the company.
This is in contrast to the rest of the market, which is expected to grow by 20% over the next year, materially higher than the company's recent medium-term annualised growth rates.
With this information, we find it concerning that Front Ventures is trading at a P/E higher than the market. Apparently many investors in the company are way more bullish than recent times would indicate and aren't willing to let go of their stock at any price. Only the boldest would assume these prices are sustainable as a continuation of recent earnings trends is likely to weigh heavily on the share price eventually.
The Final Word
While the price-to-earnings ratio shouldn't be the defining factor in whether you buy a stock or not, it's quite a capable barometer of earnings expectations.
Our examination of Front Ventures revealed its three-year earnings trends aren't impacting its high P/E anywhere near as much as we would have predicted, given they look worse than current market expectations. Right now we are increasingly uncomfortable with the high P/E as this earnings performance isn't likely to support such positive sentiment for long. Unless the recent medium-term conditions improve markedly, it's very challenging to accept these prices as being reasonable.
Plus, you should also learn about these 5 warning signs we've spotted with Front Ventures (including 3 which don't sit too well with us).
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 a strong growth track record, trading on a P/E below 20x.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.