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Don’t Sell Gresham Technologies plc (LON:GHT) 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 Gresham Technologies plc’s (LON:GHT) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Gresham Technologies has a price to earnings ratio of 30.92, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay £30.92 for every £1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for Gresham Technologies

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Gresham Technologies:

P/E of 30.92 = £0.90 ÷ £0.029 (Based on the year to June 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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.

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. 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.

Gresham Technologies’s earnings per share fell by 40% in the last twelve months. But over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have increased by 8.2%.

How Does Gresham Technologies’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 Gresham Technologies has a higher P/E than the average (22) P/E for companies in the software industry.

LSE:GHT PE PEG Gauge December 7th 18

Gresham Technologies’s P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn’t guarantee future growth. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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

It’s important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. 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.

Gresham Technologies’s Balance Sheet

Since Gresham Technologies holds net cash of UK£7.0m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Verdict On Gresham Technologies’s P/E Ratio

Gresham Technologies’s P/E is 30.9 which is above average (15.1) in the GB market. Falling earnings per share is probably keeping traditional value investors away, but the net cash position means the company has time to improve: and the high P/E suggests the market thinks it will.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. People often underestimate remarkable growth — so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

You might be able to find a better buy than Gresham Technologies. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.