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What Does Credicorp Ltd.'s (NYSE:BAP) P/E Ratio Tell You?

Simply Wall St

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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Credicorp Ltd.'s (NYSE:BAP), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Credicorp has a P/E ratio of 14.42. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $14.42 for every $1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for Credicorp

How Do I Calculate Credicorp's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share (in the reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Credicorp:

P/E of 14.42 = PEN734.31 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, PEN ) ÷ PEN50.92 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Credicorp saw earnings per share decrease by 4.6% last year. But it has grown its earnings per share by 18% per year over the last five years.

How Does Credicorp'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 (12.7) for companies in the banks industry is lower than Credicorp's P/E.

NYSE:BAP Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 14th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Credicorp shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. 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 investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its 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.

How Does Credicorp's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Since Credicorp holds net cash of S./4.1b, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Verdict On Credicorp's P/E Ratio

Credicorp's P/E is 14.4 which is below average (17.7) in the US market. The recent drop in earnings per share would almost certainly temper expectations, the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If that occurs, the current low P/E could prove to be temporary.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

But note: Credicorp 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.