Does Triton International Limited’s (NYSE:TRTN) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Triton International Limited’s (NYSE:TRTN), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Triton International has a price to earnings ratio of 7.65, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $7.65 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for Triton International

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 Triton International:

P/E of 7.65 = $33.5 ÷ $4.38 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

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 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

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. 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.

Triton International shrunk earnings per share by 3.8% last year. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 2.5%.

Does Triton International Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. We can see in the image below that the average P/E (15.8) for companies in the trade distributors industry is higher than Triton International’s P/E.

NYSE:TRTN Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 19th 2019
NYSE:TRTN Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 19th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Triton International shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Since the market seems unimpressed with Triton International, it’s quite possible it could surprise on the upside. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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 expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

Triton International’s Balance Sheet

Triton International’s net debt is considerable, at 289% of its market cap. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Bottom Line On Triton International’s P/E Ratio

Triton International has a P/E of 7.6. That’s below the average in the US market, which is 18.2. The P/E reflects market pessimism that probably arises from the lack of recent EPS growth, paired with significant leverage.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

You might be able to find a better buy than Triton International. 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).

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.