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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Bovis Homes Group PLC (LON:BVS) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

Simply Wall St

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Bovis Homes Group PLC's (LON:BVS), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is Bovis Homes Group's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 11.44. That means that at current prices, buyers pay £11.44 for every £1 in trailing yearly profits.

See our latest analysis for Bovis Homes 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 Bovis Homes Group:

P/E of 11.44 = £12.51 ÷ £1.09 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. That isn't a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business's prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

How Does Bovis Homes Group's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that Bovis Homes Group has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the consumer durables industry average (10.7).

LSE:BVS Price Estimation Relative to Market, December 13th 2019

That indicates that the market expects Bovis Homes Group will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. So if Bovis Homes Group actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

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. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Notably, Bovis Homes Group grew EPS by a whopping 39% in the last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 12%. I'd therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.

Don't Forget: The P/E Does Not Account For Debt or Bank Deposits

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

While growth expenditure doesn't always pay off, the point is that it is a good option to have; but one that the P/E ratio ignores.

Is Debt Impacting Bovis Homes Group's P/E?

Bovis Homes Group has net cash of UK£102m. That should lead to a higher P/E than if it did have debt, because its strong balance sheets gives it more options.

The Bottom Line On Bovis Homes Group's P/E Ratio

Bovis Homes Group has a P/E of 11.4. That's below the average in the GB market, which is 17.3. Not only should the net cash position reduce risk, but the recent growth has been impressive. The below average P/E ratio suggests that market participants don't believe the strong growth will continue.

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

But note: Bovis Homes 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.