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Here’s What George Weston Limited’s (TSE:WN) P/E Ratio Is Telling Us

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 George Weston Limited’s (TSE:WN) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. George Weston has a price to earnings ratio of 18.52, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 5.4%.

Check out our latest analysis for George Weston

How Do I Calculate George Weston’s Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for George Weston:

P/E of 18.52 = CA$94.98 ÷ CA$5.13 (Based on the year 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 CA$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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. 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.

George Weston’s earnings per share grew by -8.4% in the last twelve months. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 17%.

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

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that George Weston has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the consumer retailing industry average (18.9).

TSX:WN PE PEG Gauge November 2nd 18

George Weston’s P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. 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

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. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

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.

Is Debt Impacting George Weston’s P/E?

George Weston’s net debt is considerable, at 120% of its market cap. This level of debt justifies a relatively low P/E, so remain cognizant of the debt, if you’re comparing it to other stocks.

The Bottom Line On George Weston’s P/E Ratio

George Weston’s P/E is 18.5 which is above average (15.1) in the CA market. With relatively high debt, and reasonably modest earnings per share growth over twelve months, it’s safe to say the market believes the company will improve its growth in the future.

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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

But note: George Weston may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.