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Why Cogra 48 Société Anonyme's (EPA:ALCOG) High P/E Ratio Isn't Necessarily A Bad Thing

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 Cogra 48 Société Anonyme's (EPA:ALCOG), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is Cogra 48 Société Anonyme's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 17.96. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 5.6%.

View our latest analysis for Cogra 48 Société Anonyme

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 Cogra 48 Société Anonyme:

P/E of 17.96 = €5.06 ÷ €0.28 (Based on the year to December 2018.)

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 is not a good or a bad thing per se, but a high P/E does imply buyers are optimistic about the future.

Does Cogra 48 Société Anonyme Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. As you can see below, Cogra 48 Société Anonyme has a higher P/E than the average company (10.3) in the forestry industry.

ENXTPA:ALCOG Price Estimation Relative to Market, September 15th 2019

Cogra 48 Société Anonyme's P/E tells us that market participants think the company will perform better than its industry peers, going forward. 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

P/E ratios primarily reflect market expectations around earnings growth rates. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. And in that case, the P/E ratio itself will drop rather quickly. And as that P/E ratio drops, the company will look cheap, unless its share price increases.

Cogra 48 Société Anonyme's 120% EPS improvement over the last year was like bamboo growth after rain; rapid and impressive.

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

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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 Cogra 48 Société Anonyme's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Cogra 48 Société Anonyme has net debt worth just 4.8% of its market capitalization. It would probably trade on a higher P/E ratio if it had a lot of cash, but I doubt it is having a big impact.

The Verdict On Cogra 48 Société Anonyme's P/E Ratio

Cogra 48 Société Anonyme has a P/E of 18. That's around the same as the average in the FR market, which is 16.8. With only modest debt levels, and strong earnings growth, the market seems to doubt that the growth can be maintained.

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. We don't have analyst forecasts, but you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Cogra 48 Société Anonyme. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.