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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Hedera Group AB (publ) (STO:HEGR) 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 show how you can use Hedera Group AB (publ)'s (STO:HEGR) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Hedera Group has a price to earnings ratio of 18.83, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 5.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for Hedera 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 Hedera Group:

P/E of 18.83 = SEK8.00 ÷ SEK0.42 (Based on the year to September 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 SEK1 the company has earned over the last year. 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 Hedera Group Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (18.8) for companies in the healthcare industry is roughly the same as Hedera Group's P/E.

OM:HEGR Price Estimation Relative to Market, December 21st 2019

That indicates that the market expects Hedera Group will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. Further research into factors such as insider buying and selling, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the 'E' in the equation. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

Hedera Group saw earnings per share decrease by 50% last year. But EPS is up 27% over the last 5 years. And EPS is down 18% a year, over the last 3 years. This could justify a low P/E.

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).

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.

How Does Hedera Group's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Hedera Group's net debt is 57% of its market cap. This is a reasonably significant level of debt -- all else being equal you'd expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Verdict On Hedera Group's P/E Ratio

Hedera Group has a P/E of 18.8. That's around the same as the average in the SE market, which is 18.8. With meaningful debt, and no earnings per share growth last year, even an average P/E indicates that the market a significant improvement from the business.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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. Although we don't have analyst forecasts you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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.

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.