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Don’t Sell Aramark (NYSE:ARMK) Before You Read This

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We’ll show how you can use Aramark’s (NYSE:ARMK) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Aramark has a price to earnings ratio of 17.28, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $17.28 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Aramark

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Share Price ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Aramark:

P/E of 17.28 = $35.6 ÷ $2.06 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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. That’s because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the ‘E’ in the equation. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Aramark increased earnings per share by a whopping 46% last year. And earnings per share have improved by 30% annually, over the last five years. So we’d generally expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

How Does Aramark’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Aramark has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the hospitality industry average (16.8).

NYSE:ARMK PE PEG Gauge November 13th 18

That indicates that the market expects Aramark will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Further research into factors such asmanagement tenure, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

Don’t Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. 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 taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

How Does Aramark’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Aramark has net debt worth 88% 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 Aramark’s P/E Ratio

Aramark has a P/E of 17.3. That’s around the same as the average in the US market, which is 18.2. It does have enough debt to add risk, although earnings growth was strong in the last year. However, the P/E ratio implies that most doubt the strong growth will continue.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Aramark. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

To help readers see past 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. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.