Should You Be Tempted To Sell Balchem Corporation (NASDAQ:BCPC) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

Want to participate in a short research study? Help shape the future of investing tools and you could win a $250 gift card!

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Balchem Corporation’s (NASDAQ:BCPC), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Balchem has a price to earnings ratio of 39.81, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $39.81 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Balchem

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Balchem:

P/E of 39.81 = $96.61 ÷ $2.43 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company’s P/E multiple. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Balchem’s earnings per share fell by 18% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 11% per year over the last five years.

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

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, Balchem has a higher P/E than the average company (17.3) in the chemicals industry.

NasdaqGS:BCPC Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 10th 2019
NasdaqGS:BCPC Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 10th 2019

That means that the market expects Balchem will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in 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.

How Does Balchem’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Balchem has net debt worth just 3.2% of its market capitalization. So it doesn’t have as many options as it would with net cash, but its debt would not have much of an impact on its P/E ratio.

The Bottom Line On Balchem’s P/E Ratio

Balchem’s P/E is 39.8 which is above average (17.5) in the US market. 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.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.

But note: Balchem 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).

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.