U.S. Markets closed

Read This Before You Buy Telia Company AB (publ) (STO:TELIA) 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 apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Telia Company AB (publ)'s (STO:TELIA), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is Telia Company's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 21.56. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 4.6%.

View our latest analysis for Telia Company

How Do I Calculate Telia Company's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Telia Company:

P/E of 21.56 = SEK42.96 ÷ SEK1.99 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio implies that investors pay a higher price for the earning power of the business. 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.

Does Telia Company Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Telia Company has a lower P/E than the average (24.1) P/E for companies in the telecom industry.

OM:TELIA Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 1st 2019

This suggests that market participants think Telia Company will underperform other companies in its industry. Since the market seems unimpressed with Telia Company, it's quite possible it could surprise on the upside. 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

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.

Telia Company shrunk earnings per share by 7.1% last year. But EPS is up 5.6% over the last 3 years. And EPS is down 9.6% a year, over the last 5 years. So we might expect a relatively low P/E.

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

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. 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.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

So What Does Telia Company's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Telia Company has net debt equal to 49% of its market cap. You'd want to be aware of this fact, but it doesn't bother us.

The Verdict On Telia Company's P/E Ratio

Telia Company's P/E is 21.6 which is above average (16.1) in its market. With modest debt but no EPS growth in the last year, it's fair to say the P/E implies some optimism about future earnings, from the market.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. If the reality for a company is better than it expects, you can make money by buying and holding for the long term. 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 Telia Company. 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.