Why Phibro Animal Health Corporation’s (NASDAQ:PAHC) High P/E Ratio Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing

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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 Phibro Animal Health Corporation’s (NASDAQ:PAHC) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Phibro Animal Health’s P/E ratio is 20.76. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 4.8%.

See our latest analysis for Phibro Animal Health

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Phibro Animal Health:

P/E of 20.76 = $33.65 ÷ $1.62 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each $1 the company has earned over the last year. 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

If earnings fall then in the future the ‘E’ will be lower. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others — and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

Phibro Animal Health shrunk earnings per share by 5.9% last year. But EPS is up 21% over the last 5 years. And EPS is down 6.8% a year, over the last 3 years. So it would be surprising to see a high P/E.

How Does Phibro Animal Health’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (16.9) for companies in the pharmaceuticals industry is lower than Phibro Animal Health’s P/E.

NASDAQGM:PAHC PE PEG Gauge February 7th 19
NASDAQGM:PAHC PE PEG Gauge February 7th 19

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Phibro Animal Health shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. 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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

Phibro Animal Health’s Balance Sheet

Net debt totals 18% of Phibro Animal Health’s market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Bottom Line On Phibro Animal Health’s P/E Ratio

Phibro Animal Health trades on a P/E ratio of 20.8, which is above the US market average of 16.8. 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 have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Phibro Animal Health. 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).

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.