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What Does Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida’s (NASDAQ:SBCF) P/E Ratio Tell You?

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida’s (NASDAQ:SBCF) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Seacoast Banking of Florida has a price to earnings ratio of 20.87, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay \$20.87 for every \$1 in trailing yearly profits.

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How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Seacoast Banking of Florida:

P/E of 20.87 = \$28.75 ÷ \$1.38 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each \$1 the company has earned over the last year. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

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. 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.

Seacoast Banking of Florida increased earnings per share by a whopping 38% last year. And it has improved its earnings per share by 34% per year over the last three years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 13%, annually, over 5 years.

How Does Seacoast Banking of Florida’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, Seacoast Banking of Florida has a higher P/E than the average company (14.5) in the banks industry.

That means that the market expects Seacoast Banking of Florida will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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).

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.

How Does Seacoast Banking of Florida’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 30% of Seacoast Banking of Florida’s market cap. This is enough debt that you’d have to make some adjustments before using the P/E ratio to compare it to a company with net cash.

The Bottom Line On Seacoast Banking of Florida’s P/E Ratio

Seacoast Banking of Florida’s P/E is 20.9 which is above average (17.1) in the US market. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is impressive. So it is not surprising the market is probably extrapolating recent growth well into the future, reflected in the relatively high P/E ratio.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

But note: Seacoast Banking of Florida may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio 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.