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Is Thermon Group Holdings, Inc.’s (NYSE:THR) High P/E Ratio A Problem For Investors?

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This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Thermon Group Holdings, Inc.’s (NYSE:THR) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Thermon Group Holdings has a price to earnings ratio of 36.76, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today’s prices, investors are paying $36.76 for every $1 in prior year profit.

See our latest analysis for Thermon Group Holdings

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Thermon Group Holdings:

P/E of 36.76 = $24.91 ÷ $0.68 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High P/E Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each $1 of company earnings. 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a higher P/E might scare off shareholders, pushing the share price down.

Notably, Thermon Group Holdings grew EPS by a whopping 141% in the last year. But earnings per share are down 26% per year over the last five years.

How Does Thermon Group Holdings’s P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Thermon Group Holdings has a higher P/E than the average (16.3) P/E for companies in the electrical industry.

NYSE:THR Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 28th 2019
NYSE:THR Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 28th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Thermon Group Holdings 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 investors should always consider the P/E ratio alongside other factors, such as whether company directors have been buying shares.

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. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Such spending might be good or bad, overall, but the key point here is that you need to look at debt to understand the P/E ratio in context.

Thermon Group Holdings’s Balance Sheet

Net debt totals 23% of Thermon Group Holdings’s market cap. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.

The Verdict On Thermon Group Holdings’s P/E Ratio

Thermon Group Holdings’s P/E is 36.8 which is above average (17.7) in the US market. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and it is growing earnings per share. So it is not surprising the market is probably extrapolating recent growth well into the future, reflected in the relatively high P/E ratio.

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

But note: Thermon Group Holdings 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).

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.