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Should You Be Tempted To Sell Sapiens International Corporation N.V. (NASDAQ:SPNS) 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). We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to Sapiens International Corporation N.V.'s (NASDAQ:SPNS), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. Based on the last twelve months, Sapiens International's P/E ratio is 48.68. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 2.1%.

View our latest analysis for Sapiens International

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 Sapiens International:

P/E of 48.68 = $22.56 ÷ $0.46 (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 $1 the company has earned over the last year. All else being equal, it's better to pay a low price -- but as Warren Buffett said, 'It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

Does Sapiens International 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. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (44.6) for companies in the software industry is lower than Sapiens International's P/E.

NasdaqCM:SPNS Price Estimation Relative to Market, December 13th 2019

That means that the market expects Sapiens International will outperform other companies in its industry. 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

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

In the last year, Sapiens International grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 74% gain was both fast and well deserved. Having said that, the average EPS growth over the last three years wasn't so good, coming in at 1.9%.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. 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).

Sapiens International's Balance Sheet

Since Sapiens International holds net cash of US$4.4m, it can spend on growth, justifying a higher P/E ratio than otherwise.

The Bottom Line On Sapiens International's P/E Ratio

Sapiens International has a P/E of 48.7. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 18.7. 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).

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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 report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Sapiens International. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.