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Why Byline Bancorp, Inc.'s (NYSE:BY) 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 show how you can use Byline Bancorp, Inc.'s (NYSE:BY) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Byline Bancorp has a P/E ratio of 13.07, based on the last twelve months. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying $13.07 for every $1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Byline Bancorp

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Byline Bancorp:

P/E of 13.07 = USD19.71 ÷ USD1.51 (Based on the year to December 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that investors are paying a higher price for each USD1 of company 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 Byline Bancorp's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. The image below shows that Byline Bancorp has a P/E ratio that is roughly in line with the banks industry average (12.6).

NYSE:BY Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 17th 2020

That indicates that the market expects Byline Bancorp will perform roughly in line with other companies in its industry. The company could surprise by performing better than average, in the future. I would further inform my view by checking insider buying and selling., among other things.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. That means unless the share price falls, the P/E will increase in a few years. A higher P/E should indicate the stock is expensive relative to others -- and that may encourage shareholders to sell.

Most would be impressed by Byline Bancorp earnings growth of 24% in the last year. In contrast, EPS has decreased by 23%, annually, over 3 years.

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

One drawback of using a P/E ratio is that it considers market capitalization, but not the balance sheet. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Such expenditure might be good or bad, in the long term, but the point here is that the balance sheet is not reflected by this ratio.

So What Does Byline Bancorp's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals 66% of Byline Bancorp's market cap. This is a reasonably significant level of debt -- all else being equal you'd expect a much lower P/E than if it had net cash.

The Bottom Line On Byline Bancorp's P/E Ratio

Byline Bancorp's P/E is 13.1 which is below average (18.4) in the US market. The company has a meaningful amount of debt on the balance sheet, but that should not eclipse the solid earnings growth. The low P/E ratio suggests current market expectations are muted, implying these levels of growth will not continue.

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 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.