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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Profile Systems & Software A.E. (ATH:PROF) Because Of Its P/E Ratio?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we'll show how Profile Systems & Software A.E.'s (ATH:PROF) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Based on the last twelve months, Profile Systems & Software A.E's P/E ratio is 25.47. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 3.9%.

See our latest analysis for Profile Systems & Software A.E

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Profile Systems & Software A.E:

P/E of 25.47 = EUR4.00 ÷ EUR0.16 (Based on the year to June 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings 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.

How Does Profile Systems & Software A.E's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

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 (24.3) for companies in the software industry is roughly the same as Profile Systems & Software A.E's P/E.

ATSE:PROF Price Estimation Relative to Market, January 23rd 2020

Profile Systems & Software A.E's P/E tells us that market participants think its prospects are roughly in line with its industry. So if Profile Systems & Software A.E actually outperforms its peers going forward, that should be a positive for the share price. Checking factors such as director buying and selling. could help you form your own view on if that will happen.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Profile Systems & Software A.E increased earnings per share by a whopping 38% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 19%. I'd therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.

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

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. That means it doesn't take debt or cash into account. 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 Profile Systems & Software A.E's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

With net cash of €9.5m, Profile Systems & Software A.E has a very strong balance sheet, which may be important for its business. Having said that, at 21% of its market capitalization the cash hoard would contribute towards a higher P/E ratio.

The Verdict On Profile Systems & Software A.E's P/E Ratio

Profile Systems & Software A.E has a P/E of 25.5. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 17.6. The excess cash it carries is the gravy on top its fast EPS growth. To us, this is the sort of company that we would expect to carry an above average price tag (relative to earnings).

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. 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.

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.