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Is ADF Foods Limited's (NSE:ADFFOODS) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at ADF Foods Limited's (NSE:ADFFOODS) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, ADF Foods has a P/E ratio of 21.22. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.7%.

See our latest analysis for ADF Foods

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for ADF Foods:

P/E of 21.22 = ₹299.05 ÷ ₹14.09 (Based on the year to June 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. All else being equal, it's better to pay a low price -- but as Warren Buffett said, 'It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

How Does ADF Foods's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (14.6) for companies in the food industry is lower than ADF Foods's P/E.

NSEI:ADFFOODS Price Estimation Relative to Market, November 2nd 2019

That means that the market expects ADF Foods will outperform other companies in its industry. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

ADF Foods's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 56% last year. The sweetener is that the annual five year growth rate of 40% is also impressive. With that kind of growth rate we would generally expect a high P/E ratio.

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. 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.

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.

So What Does ADF Foods's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

ADF Foods has net cash of ₹184m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On ADF Foods's P/E Ratio

ADF Foods's P/E is 21.2 which is above average (13.4) in its market. The excess cash it carries is the gravy on top its fast EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. 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 ADF Foods. 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.