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Does Acerinox, S.A.’s (BME:ACX) P/E Ratio Signal A Buying Opportunity?

Phillip Young

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This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Acerinox, S.A.’s (BME:ACX) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Acerinox’s P/E ratio is 8.94. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 11%.

Check out our latest analysis for Acerinox

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Acerinox:

P/E of 8.94 = €9.66 ÷ €1.08 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each €1 of company earnings. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the ‘E’ increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Acerinox increased earnings per share by a whopping 51% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 33%. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

How Does Acerinox’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 (9.4) for companies in the metals and mining industry is roughly the same as Acerinox’s P/E.

BME:ACX Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 22nd 2019

Its P/E ratio suggests that Acerinox shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. So if Acerinox actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. Checking factors such as the tenure of the board and management could help you form your own view on if that will happen.

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

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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).

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

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

Acerinox has net debt worth 25% 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 Verdict On Acerinox’s P/E Ratio

Acerinox has a P/E of 8.9. That’s below the average in the ES market, which is 18.5. The company hasn’t stretched its balance sheet, and earnings growth was good last year. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

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 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 find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.