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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Prosegur Cash, S.A.'s (BME:CASH) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Prosegur Cash has a price to earnings ratio of 14.64, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 6.8%.
How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?
The formula for P/E is:
Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)
Or for Prosegur Cash:
P/E of 14.64 = EUR1.55 ÷ EUR0.11 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)
Is A High P/E Ratio Good?
A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each EUR1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn't a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.
Does Prosegur Cash Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?
The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Prosegur Cash has a lower P/E than the average (18.5) P/E for companies in the commercial services industry.
Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that Prosegur Cash shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.
How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios
If earnings fall then in the future the 'E' will be lower. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.
Prosegur Cash's earnings per share fell by 19% in the last twelve months. And EPS is down 17% a year, over the last 5 years. This growth rate might warrant a below average P/E ratio.
A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank
It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. 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 expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.
So What Does Prosegur Cash's Balance Sheet Tell Us?
Net debt is 26% of Prosegur Cash's market cap. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.
The Verdict On Prosegur Cash's P/E Ratio
Prosegur Cash's P/E is 14.6 which is below average (17.0) in the ES market. Since it only carries a modest debt load, it's likely the low expectations implied by the P/E ratio arise from the lack of recent earnings growth.
Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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. Thank you for reading.