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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Deutsche Post AG (ETR:DPW) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Deutsche Post AG's (ETR:DPW) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. What is Deutsche Post's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 16.29. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 6.1%.

Check out our latest analysis for Deutsche Post

How Do You Calculate Deutsche Post's P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Deutsche Post:

P/E of 16.29 = €28.58 ÷ €1.75 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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 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.

How Does Deutsche Post's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (15.8) for companies in the logistics industry is roughly the same as Deutsche Post's P/E.

XTRA:DPW Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 19th 2019

Deutsche Post's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Further research into factors such as insider buying and selling, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Deutsche Post's earnings per share fell by 17% in the last twelve months. But EPS is up 3.8% over the last 3 years.

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.

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 Deutsche Post's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Deutsche Post has net debt worth 14% of its market capitalization. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.

The Bottom Line On Deutsche Post's P/E Ratio

Deutsche Post has a P/E of 16.3. That's below the average in the DE market, which is 18.5. With only modest debt, it's likely the lack of EPS growth at least partially explains the pessimism implied by the P/E ratio.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.' So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

But note: Deutsche Post 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).

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.