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Read This Before You Buy IBI Group Inc. (TSE:IBG) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

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 IBI Group Inc.'s (TSE:IBG), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. IBI Group has a P/E ratio of 11.67, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 8.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for IBI Group

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for IBI Group:

P/E of 11.67 = CA$5.80 ÷ CA$0.50 (Based on the year to September 2019.)

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. 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 IBI Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. If you look at the image below, you can see IBI Group has a lower P/E than the average (77.9) in the professional services industry classification.

TSX:IBG Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 1st 2020

This suggests that market participants think IBI Group will underperform other companies in its industry. While current expectations are low, the stock could be undervalued if the situation is better than the market assumes. It is arguably worth checking if insiders are buying shares, because that might imply they believe the stock is undervalued.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

It's nice to see that IBI Group grew EPS by a stonking 34% in the last year.

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

Is Debt Impacting IBI Group's P/E?

Net debt is 46% of IBI Group's market cap. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Bottom Line On IBI Group's P/E Ratio

IBI Group has a P/E of 11.7. That's below the average in the CA market, which is 15.9. The EPS growth last year was strong, and debt levels are quite reasonable. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue. Because analysts are predicting more growth in the future, one might have expected to see a higher P/E ratio. You can take a closer look at the fundamentals, here.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. 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.

But note: IBI Group may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

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.