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Do You Know What E.ON SE's (FRA:EOAN) P/E Ratio Means?

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Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at E.ON SE's (FRA:EOAN) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Looking at earnings over the last twelve months, E.ON has a P/E ratio of 8.67. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 12%.

Check out our latest analysis for E.ON

How Do You Calculate E.ON's P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for E.ON:

P/E of 8.67 = €9.42 ÷ €1.09 (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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

How Does E.ON'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 E.ON has a lower P/E than the average (18.9) in the integrated utilities industry classification.

DB:EOAN Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 15th 2019

Its relatively low P/E ratio indicates that E.ON shareholders think it will struggle to do as well as other companies in its industry classification. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. 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. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

E.ON shrunk earnings per share by 44% over the last year. But EPS is up 29% over the last 5 years.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. 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).

How Does E.ON's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

E.ON's net debt equates to 38% of its market capitalization. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Bottom Line On E.ON's P/E Ratio

E.ON trades on a P/E ratio of 8.7, which is below the DE market average of 20.1. Since it only carries a modest debt load, it's likely the low expectations implied by the P/E ratio arise from the lack of recent earnings growth.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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.