This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll look at Cambrex Corporation’s (NYSE:CBM) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company’s share price. Cambrex has a price to earnings ratio of 14.1, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.1%.
How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Cambrex:
P/E of 14.1 = $39.54 ÷ $2.8 (Based on the year to December 2018.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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 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. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others — and that may attract buyers.
Cambrex’s earnings per share fell by 12% in the last twelve months. But it has grown its earnings per share by 23% per year over the last five years.
How Does Cambrex’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?
We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Cambrex has a lower P/E than the average (34.4) P/E for companies in the life sciences industry.
Cambrex’s P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet
Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).
Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.
Cambrex’s Balance Sheet
Cambrex has net debt worth 15% of its market capitalization. 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 Cambrex’s P/E Ratio
Cambrex has a P/E of 14.1. That’s below the average in the US market, which is 17.5. The debt levels are not a major concern, but the lack of EPS growth is likely weighing on sentiment.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. 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 Cambrex. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.