Is MGP Ingredients, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MGPI) P/E Ratio Really That Good?

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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 MGP Ingredients, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MGPI) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, MGP Ingredients has a P/E ratio of 29.9. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 3.3%.

View our latest analysis for MGP Ingredients

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ 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 P/E 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

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. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

MGP Ingredients’s earnings per share fell by 9.6% in the last twelve months. But over the longer term (3 years), earnings per share have increased by 11%.

Does MGP Ingredients Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its 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

That indicates that the market expects MGP Ingredients will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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.

While growth expenditure doesn’t always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Is Debt Impacting MGP Ingredients’s P/E?

Net debt totals just 3.4% of MGP Ingredients’s 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 has a P/E of 29.9. That’s higher than the average in the US market, which is 18.1. With modest debt but no EPS growth in the last year, it’s fair to say the P/E implies some optimism about future earnings, from the market.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

You might be able to find a better buy than MGP Ingredients. 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.