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What Does Polypipe Group plc's (LON:PLP) P/E Ratio Tell You?

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Polypipe Group plc's (LON:PLP) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. What is Polypipe Group's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 17.17. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 5.8%.

View our latest analysis for Polypipe Group

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 Polypipe Group:

P/E of 17.17 = £4.21 ÷ £0.25 (Based on the trailing twelve months 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 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

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. 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.

Polypipe Group saw earnings per share improve by -8.1% last year. And it has bolstered its earnings per share by 20% per year over the last five years.

How Does Polypipe Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. The image below shows that Polypipe Group has a higher P/E than the average (13.7) P/E for companies in the building industry.

LSE:PLP Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 25th 2019
LSE:PLP Price Estimation Relative to Market, April 25th 2019

Polypipe Group's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and 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. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

So What Does Polypipe Group's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Polypipe Group has net debt worth 20% of its market capitalization. That's enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you're comparing it to companies without debt.

The Bottom Line On Polypipe Group's P/E Ratio

Polypipe Group has a P/E of 17.2. That's around the same as the average in the GB market, which is 16.3. When you consider the modest EPS growth last year (along with some debt), it seems the market thinks the growth is sustainable.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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.