U.S. markets open in 2 hours 58 minutes

Why AptarGroup, Inc.'s (NYSE:ATR) High P/E Ratio Isn't Necessarily A Bad Thing

Simply Wall St

This article is written for those who want to get better at using price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at AptarGroup, Inc.'s (NYSE:ATR) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. AptarGroup has a P/E ratio of 31.14, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $31.14 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for AptarGroup

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 AptarGroup:

P/E of 31.14 = USD115.26 ÷ USD3.70 (Based on the trailing twelve months to September 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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'.

How Does AptarGroup's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. The image below shows that AptarGroup has a higher P/E than the average (20.0) P/E for companies in the packaging industry.

NYSE:ATR Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 19th 2020

That means that the market expects AptarGroup will outperform other companies in its industry. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. 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. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

Most would be impressed by AptarGroup earnings growth of 13% in the last year. And earnings per share have improved by 5.3% annually, over the last five years. With that performance, you might expect 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. 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.

So What Does AptarGroup's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

AptarGroup's net debt is 12% of its market cap. That's enough debt to impact the P/E ratio a little; so keep it in mind if you're comparing it to companies without debt.

The Bottom Line On AptarGroup's P/E Ratio

AptarGroup has a P/E of 31.1. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 18.3. While the company does use modest debt, its recent earnings growth is very good. So on this analysis it seems reasonable that its P/E ratio is above average.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. People often underestimate remarkable growth -- so investors can make money when fast growth is not fully appreciated. So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

But note: AptarGroup 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).

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.