Here’s How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand MGP Ingredients, Inc. (NASDAQ:MGPI)

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Today, we’ll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We’ll show how you can use MGP Ingredients, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MGPI) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, MGP Ingredients has a P/E ratio of 29.9. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.3%.

View our latest analysis for MGP Ingredients

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for MGP Ingredients:

P/E of 29.9 = $66.31 ÷ $2.22 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. That isn’t a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

MGP Ingredients shrunk earnings per share by 9.6% last year. But EPS is up 11% over the last 3 years.

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

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below MGP Ingredients has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the beverage industry, which is 30.4.

NasdaqGS:MGPI Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 1st 2019
NasdaqGS:MGPI Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 1st 2019

MGP Ingredients’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won’t reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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 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.

Is Debt Impacting MGP Ingredients’s P/E?

MGP Ingredients’s net debt is 3.4% 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 Verdict On MGP Ingredients’s P/E Ratio

MGP Ingredients trades on a P/E ratio of 29.9, which is above the US market average of 18.1. With a bit of debt, but a lack of recent growth, it’s safe to say the market is expecting improved profit performance from the company, in the next few years.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, ‘In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.’ So this free visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than MGP Ingredients. 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.