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Here's What Axalta Coating Systems Ltd.'s (NYSE:AXTA) P/E Is Telling Us

Simply Wall St

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Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Axalta Coating Systems Ltd.'s (NYSE:AXTA), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, Axalta Coating Systems's P/E ratio is 38.84. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 2.6%.

See our latest analysis for Axalta Coating Systems

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 Axalta Coating Systems:

P/E of 38.84 = $29.56 ÷ $0.76 (Based on the year to March 2019.)

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 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.

Does Axalta Coating Systems Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (18.6) for companies in the chemicals industry is lower than Axalta Coating Systems's P/E.

NYSE:AXTA Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 13th 2019

Axalta Coating Systems's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

In the last year, Axalta Coating Systems grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 331% gain was both fast and well deserved. Even better, EPS is up 31% per year over three years. So we'd absolutely expect it to have a relatively high P/E ratio.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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).

Is Debt Impacting Axalta Coating Systems's P/E?

Axalta Coating Systems's net debt equates to 48% of its market capitalization. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Verdict On Axalta Coating Systems's P/E Ratio

Axalta Coating Systems's P/E is 38.8 which is above average (18) in its market. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is superb. So on this analysis a high P/E ratio seems reasonable.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. 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 Axalta Coating Systems. 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).

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.