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Does LANXESS Aktiengesellschaft’s (ETR:LXS) PE Ratio Warrant A Sell?

LANXESS Aktiengesellschaft (XTRA:LXS) is trading with a trailing P/E of 60.1x, which is higher than the industry average of 17.5x. While LXS might seem like a stock to avoid or sell if you own it, it is important to understand the assumptions behind the P/E ratio before you make any investment decisions. Today, I will break down what the P/E ratio is, how to interpret it and what to watch out for. See our latest analysis for LANXESS

What you need to know about the P/E ratio

P/E is often used for relative valuation since earnings power is a chief driver of investment value. It compares a stock’s price per share to the stock’s earnings per share. A more intuitive way of understanding the P/E ratio is to think of it as how much investors are paying for each dollar of the company’s earnings.

P/E Calculation for LXS

Price-Earnings Ratio = Price per share ÷ Earnings per share

LXS Price-Earnings Ratio = €68.9 ÷ €1.147 = 60.1x

On its own, the P/E ratio doesn’t tell you much; however, it becomes extremely useful when you compare it with other similar companies. Our goal is to compare the stock’s P/E ratio to the average of companies that have similar attributes to LXS, such as company lifetime and products sold. A quick method of creating a peer group is to use companies in the same industry, which is what I will do. Since LXS’s P/E of 60.1x is higher than its industry peers (17.5x), it means that investors are paying more than they should for each dollar of LXS’s earnings. As such, our analysis shows that LXS represents an over-priced stock.

A few caveats

Before you jump to the conclusion that LXS should be banished from your portfolio, it is important to realise that our conclusion rests on two assertions. The first is that our “similar companies” are actually similar to LXS, or else the difference in P/E might be a result of other factors. For example, if you compared higher growth firms with LXS, then its P/E would naturally be lower since investors would reward its peers’ higher growth with a higher price. The second assumption that must hold true is that the stocks we are comparing LXS to are fairly valued by the market. If this does not hold true, LXS’s lower P/E ratio may be because firms in our peer group are overvalued by the market.

What this means for you:

You may have already conducted fundamental analysis on the stock as a shareholder, so its current overvaluation could signal a potential selling opportunity to reduce your exposure to LXS. Now that you understand the ins and outs of the PE metric, you should know to bear in mind its limitations before you make an investment decision. Remember that basing your investment decision off one metric alone is certainly not sufficient. There are many things I have not taken into account in this article and the PE ratio is very one-dimensional. If you have not done so already, I urge you to complete your research by taking a look at the following:

1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for LXS’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for LXS’s outlook.
2. Past Track Record: Has LXS been consistently performing well irrespective of the ups and downs in the market? Go into more detail in the past performance analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of LXS’s historicals for more clarity.
3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.