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Read This Before You Buy Perrot Duval Holding S.A. (VTX:PEDU) Because Of Its P/E Ratio

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll look at Perrot Duval Holding S.A.'s (VTX:PEDU) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Perrot Duval Holding has a price to earnings ratio of 21.76, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay CHF21.76 for every CHF1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for Perrot Duval Holding

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Perrot Duval Holding:

P/E of 21.76 = CHF144.00 ÷ CHF6.62 (Based on the year to October 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each CHF1 of company earnings. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Does Perrot Duval Holding's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Perrot Duval Holding has a lower P/E than the average (23.6) P/E for companies in the machinery industry.

SWX:PEDU Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 10th 2020

This suggests that market participants think Perrot Duval Holding 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

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. If earnings are growing quickly, then the 'E' in the equation will increase faster than it would otherwise. 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.

Perrot Duval Holding's earnings per share grew by -9.2% in the last twelve months. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 2.0% a year, over 5 years.

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. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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 Perrot Duval Holding's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals 25% of Perrot Duval Holding's market cap. That's enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you're comparing it to companies without debt.

The Bottom Line On Perrot Duval Holding's P/E Ratio

Perrot Duval Holding trades on a P/E ratio of 21.8, which is fairly close to the CH market average of 20.3. Given it has some debt, and grew earnings a bit last year, the P/E indicates the market is expecting steady ongoing progress.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

You might be able to find a better buy than Perrot Duval Holding. 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.