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Is Hermès International Société en commandite par actions's (EPA:RMS) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

Simply Wall St

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 Hermès International Société en commandite par actions's (EPA:RMS), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Hermès International Société en commandite par actions has a price to earnings ratio of 44.94, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €44.94 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Hermès International Société en commandite par actions

How Do I Calculate Hermès International Société en commandite par actions's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Hermès International Société en commandite par actions:

P/E of 44.94 = €605.6 ÷ €13.48 (Based on the trailing twelve months 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. That is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does Hermès International Société en commandite par actions Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Hermès International Société en commandite par actions has a higher P/E than the average (26.3) P/E for companies in the luxury industry.

ENXTPA:RMS Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 16th 2019

That means that the market expects Hermès International Société en commandite par actions will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. 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

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 unless the share price increases, the P/E will reduce in a few years. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Most would be impressed by Hermès International Société en commandite par actions earnings growth of 15% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 12% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect an above average P/E ratio.

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

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

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.

Hermès International Société en commandite par actions's Balance Sheet

Hermès International Société en commandite par actions has net cash of €3.4b. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Verdict On Hermès International Société en commandite par actions's P/E Ratio

Hermès International Société en commandite par actions trades on a P/E ratio of 44.9, which is above its market average of 16.6. Its strong balance sheet gives the company plenty of resources for extra growth, and it has already proven it can grow. So it does not seem strange that the P/E is above average.

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

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Hermès International Société en commandite par actions. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.