Is It Time To Buy Ormat Technologies Inc (NYSE:ORA) Based Off Its PE Ratio?

Ormat Technologies Inc (NYSE:ORA) trades with a trailing P/E of 15.9x, which is lower than the industry average of 17.2x. While ORA might seem like an attractive stock to buy, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. Today, I will explain what the P/E ratio is as well as what you should look out for when using it. See our latest analysis for Ormat Technologies

Breaking down the P/E ratio

The P/E ratio is a popular ratio used in relative valuation since earnings power is a key driver of investment value. By comparing a stock’s price per share to its earnings per share, we are able to see how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

Formula

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

P/E Calculation for ORA

Price per share = \$52.21

Earnings per share = \$3.275

∴ Price-Earnings Ratio = \$52.21 ÷ \$3.275 = 15.9x

The P/E ratio isn’t a metric you view in isolation and only becomes useful when you compare it against other similar companies. Ideally, we want to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar characteristics as ORA, such as size and country of operation. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since it is expected that similar companies have similar P/E ratios, we can come to some conclusions about the stock if the ratios are different.

ORA’s P/E of 15.9x is lower than its industry peers (17.2x), which implies that each dollar of ORA’s earnings is being undervalued by investors. Therefore, according to this analysis, ORA is an under-priced stock.

Assumptions to be aware of

However, before you rush out to buy ORA, it is important to note that this conclusion is based on two key assumptions. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to ORA. If the companies aren’t similar, the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you are inadvertently comparing lower risk firms with ORA, then ORA’s P/E would naturally be lower than its peers, since investors would value those with lower risk with a higher price. The other possibility is if you were accidentally comparing higher growth firms with ORA. In this case, ORA’s P/E would be lower since investors would also reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing ORA to are fairly valued by the market. If this assumption does not hold true, ORA’s lower P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are being overvalued by the market.

What this means for you:

You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current undervaluation could signal a good buying opportunity to increase your exposure to ORA. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I highly recommend you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for ORA’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for ORA’s outlook.
2. Past Track Record: Has ORA been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of ORA’s historicals for more clarity.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.