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Is Frenkel Topping Group Plc's (LON:FEN) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

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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 Frenkel Topping Group Plc's (LON:FEN) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. What is Frenkel Topping Group's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 35.96. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying £35.96 for every £1 in prior year profit.

Check out our latest analysis for Frenkel Topping Group

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 Frenkel Topping Group:

P/E of 35.96 = £0.39 ÷ £0.011 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

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. All else being equal, it's better to pay a low price -- but as Warren Buffett said, 'It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.'

Does Frenkel Topping Group 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 Frenkel Topping Group has a higher P/E than the average (17.5) P/E for companies in the capital markets industry.

AIM:FEN Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 11th 2019

Frenkel Topping Group's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

Frenkel Topping Group saw earnings per share decrease by 52% last year. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 10% per year over the last five years. This could justify a pessimistic P/E.

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. 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.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Frenkel Topping Group's Balance Sheet

The extra options and safety that comes with Frenkel Topping Group's UK£2.0m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Bottom Line On Frenkel Topping Group's P/E Ratio

Frenkel Topping Group trades on a P/E ratio of 36, which is above its market average of 16.3. The recent drop in earnings per share might keep value investors away, but the relatively strong balance sheet will allow the company time to invest in growth. Clearly, the high P/E indicates shareholders think it will!

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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.

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.