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Should We Worry About Topps Tiles Plc’s (LON:TPT) P/E Ratio?

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 Topps Tiles Plc’s (LON:TPT) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Based on the last twelve months, Topps Tiles’s P/E ratio is 14. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 7.1%.

View our latest analysis for Topps Tiles

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Topps Tiles:

P/E of 14 = £0.70 ÷ £0.050 (Based on the year to September 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

A higher P/E ratio means that buyers have to pay a higher price for each £1 the company has earned over the last year. 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 Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the ‘E’ in the equation. 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.

Topps Tiles saw earnings per share decrease by 28% last year. But EPS is up 1.2% over the last 5 years. And it has shrunk its earnings per share by 10.0% per year over the last three years. This growth rate might warrant a low P/E ratio. This growth rate might warrant a low P/E ratio.

How Does Topps Tiles’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 Topps Tiles has a higher P/E than the average (10.9) P/E for companies in the specialty retail industry.

LSE:TPT Price Estimation Relative to Market, March 7th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Topps Tiles shareholders think it will perform better than other companies in its industry classification. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn’t guaranteed. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

A Limitation: P/E Ratios Ignore Debt and Cash In The Bank

Don’t forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. That means it doesn’t take debt or cash into account. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future), by taking on debt (or spending its remaining cash).

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.

How Does Topps Tiles’s Debt Impact Its P/E Ratio?

Topps Tiles’s net debt is 12% of its market cap. This could bring some additional risk, and reduce the number of investment options for management; worth remembering if you compare its P/E to businesses without debt.

The Verdict On Topps Tiles’s P/E Ratio

Topps Tiles’s P/E is 14 which is below average (16) in the GB market. Since it only carries a modest debt load, it’s likely the low expectations implied by the P/E ratio arise from the lack of recent earnings growth.

Investors should be looking to buy stocks that the market is wrong about. If the reality for a company is not as bad as the P/E ratio indicates, then the share price should increase as the market realizes this. So this free visual report on analyst forecasts could hold the key to an excellent investment decision.

Of course you might be able to find a better stock than Topps Tiles. 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.