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Is Carel Industries S.p.A.'s (BIT:CRL) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Carel Industries S.p.A.'s (BIT:CRL) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Carel Industries has a P/E ratio of 38.88. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €38.88 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Carel Industries

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 Carel Industries:

P/E of 38.88 = EUR13.10 ÷ EUR0.34 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

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. That isn't a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

Does Carel Industries Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below, Carel Industries has a higher P/E than the average company (13.6) in the electronic industry.

BIT:CRL Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 19th 2020

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Carel Industries shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. 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.

Carel Industries saw earnings per share improve by -8.0% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 9.5%.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

Carel Industries's Balance Sheet

Net debt totals just 4.6% of Carel Industries's market cap. 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 Carel Industries's P/E Ratio

Carel Industries's P/E is 38.9 which is above average (18.7) in its market. With debt at prudent levels and improving earnings, it's fair to say the market expects steady progress in the future.

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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Carel Industries 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).

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.

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. Thank you for reading.