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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Microchip Technology Incorporated (NASDAQ:MCHP) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Microchip Technology Incorporated’s (NASDAQ:MCHP) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Microchip Technology has a price to earnings ratio of 62.56, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 1.6%.

View our latest analysis for Microchip Technology

How Do I Calculate Microchip Technology’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Microchip Technology:

P/E of 62.56 = $87.07 ÷ $1.39 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the ‘E’ decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

It’s nice to see that Microchip Technology grew EPS by a stonking 30% in the last year. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 17% a year, over 5 years.

How Does Microchip Technology’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Microchip Technology has a significantly higher P/E than the average (18.5) P/E for companies in the semiconductor industry.

NasdaqGS:MCHP Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 28th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Microchip Technology shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don’t Consider The Balance Sheet

The ‘Price’ in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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 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.

How Does Microchip Technology’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Net debt totals 49% of Microchip Technology’s market cap. This is a reasonably significant level of debt — all else being equal you’d expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Bottom Line On Microchip Technology’s P/E Ratio

Microchip Technology trades on a P/E ratio of 62.6, which is multiples above the US market average of 17.7. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and it is growing earnings per share. So it is not surprising the market is probably extrapolating recent growth well into the future, reflected in the relatively high P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.

You might be able to find a better buy than Microchip Technology. 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 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.