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Here's How P/E Ratios Can Help Us Understand Pennant International Group plc (LON:PEN)

Simply Wall St

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Pennant International Group plc's (LON:PEN), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, Pennant International Group has a P/E ratio of 7.48. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 13%.

View our latest analysis for Pennant International Group

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Pennant International Group:

P/E of 7.48 = £0.71 ÷ £0.095 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E 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. 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.'

How Does Pennant International Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. If you look at the image below, you can see Pennant International Group has a lower P/E than the average (18) in the aerospace & defense industry classification.

AIM:PEN Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 16th 2019

This suggests that market participants think Pennant International Group will underperform other companies in its industry. Many investors like to buy stocks when the market is pessimistic about their prospects. You should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

In the last year, Pennant International Group grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 104% gain was both fast and well deserved.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. 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.

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).

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

Since Pennant International Group holds net cash of UK£1.8m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Bottom Line On Pennant International Group's P/E Ratio

Pennant International Group has a P/E of 7.5. That's below the average in the GB market, which is 15.7. Not only should the net cash position reduce risk, but the recent growth has been impressive. The relatively low P/E ratio implies the market is pessimistic.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If it is underestimating a company, investors can make money by buying and holding the shares until the market corrects itself. 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.

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.