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Why Quaker Chemical Corporation’s (NYSE:KWR) High P/E Ratio Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing

Walter Gay

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The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). To keep it practical, we’ll show how Quaker Chemical Corporation’s (NYSE:KWR) P/E ratio could help you assess the value on offer. Quaker Chemical has a P/E ratio of 64.41, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 1.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for Quaker Chemical

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Quaker Chemical:

P/E of 64.41 = $202.96 ÷ $3.15 (Based on the year to September 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 a good or a bad thing on its own, but a high P/E means that buyers have a higher opinion of the business’s prospects, relative to stocks with a lower P/E.

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. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

Quaker Chemical saw earnings per share decrease by 12% last year. And EPS is down 9.2% a year, over the last 5 years. This growth rate might warrant a below average P/E ratio.

How Does Quaker Chemical’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 Quaker Chemical has a significantly higher P/E than the average (19.3) P/E for companies in the chemicals industry.

NYSE:KWR PE PEG Gauge February 11th 19

That means that the market expects Quaker Chemical will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

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. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. Hypothetically, a company could reduce its future P/E ratio by spending its cash (or taking on debt) to achieve higher earnings.

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.

Is Debt Impacting Quaker Chemical’s P/E?

The extra options and safety that comes with Quaker Chemical’s US$47m net cash position means that it deserves a higher P/E than it would if it had a lot of net debt.

The Verdict On Quaker Chemical’s P/E Ratio

Quaker Chemical has a P/E of 64.4. That’s significantly higher than the average in the US market, which is 16.8. The recent drop in earnings per share might keep value investors away, but the healthy balance sheet means the company retains potential for future growth. If fails to eventuate, the current high P/E could prove to be temporary, as the share price falls.

Investors have an opportunity when market expectations about a stock are wrong. 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 visualization of the analyst consensus on future earnings could help you make the right decision about whether to buy, sell, or hold.

But note: Quaker Chemical 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).

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.