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Should We Worry About OFG Bancorp's (NYSE:OFG) P/E Ratio?

Simply Wall St

Today, we'll introduce the concept of the P/E ratio for those who are learning about investing. We'll apply a basic P/E ratio analysis to OFG Bancorp's (NYSE:OFG), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. OFG Bancorp has a P/E ratio of 13.23, based on the last twelve months. That is equivalent to an earnings yield of about 7.6%.

Check out our latest analysis for OFG Bancorp

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 OFG Bancorp:

P/E of 13.23 = $23.43 ÷ $1.77 (Based on the trailing twelve months to June 2019.)

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

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

One good way to get a quick read on what market participants expect of a company is to look at its P/E ratio. You can see in the image below that the average P/E (12.5) for companies in the banks industry is roughly the same as OFG Bancorp's P/E.

NYSE:OFG Price Estimation Relative to Market, October 21st 2019

Its P/E ratio suggests that OFG Bancorp shareholders think that in the future it will perform about the same as other companies in its industry classification. If the company has better than average prospects, then the market might be underestimating it. Further research into factors such as insider buying and selling, could help you form your own view on whether that is likely.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Generally speaking the rate of earnings growth has a profound impact on a company's P/E multiple. Earnings growth means that in the future the 'E' will be higher. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

OFG Bancorp's earnings made like a rocket, taking off 81% last year. Even better, EPS is up 62% per year over three years. So you might say it really deserves to have an above-average P/E ratio.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. So it won't reflect the advantage of cash, or disadvantage of debt. 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.

How Does OFG Bancorp's Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

OFG Bancorp has net cash of US$319m. This is fairly high at 27% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

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

OFG Bancorp's P/E is 13.2 which is below average (17.7) in the US market. Not only should the net cash position reduce risk, but the recent growth has been impressive. The below average P/E ratio suggests that market participants don't believe the strong growth will continue. Given analysts are expecting further growth, one I would have expected a higher P/E ratio. So this stock may well be worth further research.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. 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.

You might be able to find a better buy than OFG Bancorp. If you want a selection of possible winners, check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a P/E below 20 (but have proven they can grow earnings).

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.