Is First BanCorp.’s (NYSE:FBP) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

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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 First BanCorp.’s (NYSE:FBP) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, First BanCorp’s P/E ratio is 11.42. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $11.42 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for First BanCorp

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 First BanCorp:

P/E of 11.42 = $11.05 ÷ $0.97 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 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 Does First BanCorp’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. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.9) for companies in the banks industry is higher than First BanCorp’s P/E.

NYSE:FBP Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 10th 2019
NYSE:FBP Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 10th 2019

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

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. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

In the last year, First BanCorp grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 188% gain was both fast and well deserved. And earnings per share have improved by 121% annually, over the last three years. So we’d absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. 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 investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its 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 First BanCorp’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

First BanCorp has net debt worth 18% of its market capitalization. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Verdict On First BanCorp’s P/E Ratio

First BanCorp trades on a P/E ratio of 11.4, which is below the US market average of 18. The company does have a little debt, and EPS growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 be able to find a better stock than First BanCorp. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.