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Don't Sell AlzChem Group AG (ETR:ACT) Before You Read This

Simply Wall St

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use AlzChem Group AG's (ETR:ACT) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is AlzChem Group's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 22.60. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying €22.60 for every €1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for AlzChem Group

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for AlzChem Group:

P/E of 22.60 = EUR21.80 ÷ EUR0.96 (Based on the year to September 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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 Does AlzChem Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. As you can see below AlzChem Group has a P/E ratio that is fairly close for the average for the chemicals industry, which is 22.5.

XTRA:ACT Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 16th 2020

Its P/E ratio suggests that AlzChem Group shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Checking factors such as director buying and selling. could help you form your own view on if that will happen.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

If earnings fall then in the future the 'E' will be lower. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

AlzChem Group saw earnings per share decrease by 26% last year. And over the longer term (5 years) earnings per share have decreased 40% annually. This might lead to muted expectations.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on growth.

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.

How Does AlzChem Group's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

AlzChem Group has net cash of €12m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Verdict On AlzChem Group's P/E Ratio

AlzChem Group has a P/E of 22.6. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 20.6. The recent drop in earnings per share would make some investors cautious, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 be able to find a better stock than AlzChem Group. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.

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.