Is HEXPOL AB (publ)’s (STO:HPOL B) 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). To keep it practical, we’ll show how HEXPOL AB (publ)’s (STO:HPOL B) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. What is HEXPOL’s P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 15.26. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying SEK15.26 for every SEK1 in prior year profit.

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

See our latest analysis for HEXPOL

How Do You Calculate HEXPOL’s P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for HEXPOL:

P/E of 15.26 = SEK74.15 ÷ SEK4.86 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. If earnings are growing quickly, then the ‘E’ in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.

HEXPOL saw earnings per share improve by -7.3% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 11%.

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

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see HEXPOL has a lower P/E than the average (18.8) in the chemicals industry classification.

OM:HPOL B Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 27th 2019
OM:HPOL B Price Estimation Relative to Market, May 27th 2019

HEXPOL’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. 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.

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

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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 HEXPOL’s Balance Sheet Tell Us?

HEXPOL’s net debt is 4.6% of its market cap. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Bottom Line On HEXPOL’s P/E Ratio

HEXPOL trades on a P/E ratio of 15.3, which is below the SE market average of 16.6. The company does have a little debt, and EPS is moving in the right direction. If growth is sustainable over the long term, then the current P/E ratio may be a sign of good value.

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 report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

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.

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.