The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Orange S.A.'s (EPA:ORA), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Orange has a P/E ratio of 10.07, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 9.9%.
How Do I Calculate Orange's Price To Earnings Ratio?
The formula for price to earnings is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Orange:
P/E of 10.07 = €10.395 ÷ €1.032 (Based on the year to December 2019.)
(Note: the above calculation results may not be precise due to rounding.)
Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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 Does Orange'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 Orange has a lower P/E than the average (18.1) P/E for companies in the telecom industry.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Orange shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. Since the market seems unimpressed with Orange, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.
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 even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. A lower P/E should indicate the stock is cheap relative to others -- and that may attract buyers.
Orange's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 65% last year. The cherry on top is that the five year growth rate was an impressive 23% per year. With that kind of growth rate we would generally expect a high P/E ratio.
Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet
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. 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.
Orange's Balance Sheet
Orange has net debt worth 95% of its market capitalization. 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 Orange's P/E Ratio
Orange trades on a P/E ratio of 10.1, which is below the FR market average of 14.0. The company may have significant debt, but EPS 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 report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.
Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Orange. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.