U.S. Markets closed

Should You Be Tempted To Sell Polycab India Limited (NSE:POLYCAB) 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 Polycab India Limited's (NSE:POLYCAB), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Polycab India has a price to earnings ratio of 15.74, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying ₹15.74 for every ₹1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for Polycab India

How Do I Calculate Polycab India's Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Polycab India:

P/E of 15.74 = ₹614.75 ÷ ₹39.05 (Based on the year to June 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 ₹1 the company has earned over the last year. 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.

Does Polycab India 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. As you can see below, Polycab India has a higher P/E than the average company (12.6) in the electrical industry.

NSEI:POLYCAB Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 1st 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Polycab India shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. The market is optimistic about the future, but that doesn't guarantee future growth. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Probably the most important factor in determining what P/E a company trades on is the earnings growth. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. 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.

It's nice to see that Polycab India grew EPS by a stonking 31% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 44% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, I would expect it to have an above average P/E ratio.

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

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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).

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

Is Debt Impacting Polycab India's P/E?

Since Polycab India holds net cash of ₹458m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Bottom Line On Polycab India's P/E Ratio

Polycab India trades on a P/E ratio of 15.7, which is above its market average of 13.1. The excess cash it carries is the gravy on top its fast EPS growth. So based on this analysis we'd expect Polycab India to have a high P/E ratio.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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 visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

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.

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.