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Here's How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand EVRAZ plc (LON:EVR)

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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 apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to EVRAZ plc's (LON:EVR), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is EVRAZ's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 4.42. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying £4.42 for every £1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for EVRAZ

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share (in the reporting currency) ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for EVRAZ:

P/E of 4.42 = USD4.91 (Note: this is the share price in the reporting currency, namely, USD ) ÷ USD1.11 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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 EVRAZ Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see EVRAZ has a lower P/E than the average (9.5) in the metals and mining industry classification.

LSE:EVR Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 24th 2020
LSE:EVR Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 24th 2020

EVRAZ's P/E tells us that market participants think it will not fare as well as its peers in the same industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with EVRAZ, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. If you consider the stock interesting, further research is recommended. For example, I often monitor director buying and selling.

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. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. 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.

EVRAZ shrunk earnings per share by 9.3% last year.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. 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 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.

So What Does EVRAZ's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

EVRAZ's net debt equates to 49% of its market capitalization. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Verdict On EVRAZ's P/E Ratio

EVRAZ has a P/E of 4.4. That's below the average in the GB market, which is 18.3. With only modest debt, it's likely the lack of EPS growth at least partially explains the pessimism implied by the P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 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 EVRAZ. 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).

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.