Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Agripower France SA (EPA:ALAGP) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

The goal of this article is to teach you how to use price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll show how you can use Agripower France SA's (EPA:ALAGP) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Agripower France has a price to earnings ratio of 29.09, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay €29.09 for every €1 in trailing yearly profits.

View our latest analysis for Agripower France

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Agripower France:

P/E of 29.09 = EUR9.36 ÷ EUR0.32 (Based on the year 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 EUR1 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.

Does Agripower France Have A Relatively High Or Low P/E For Its Industry?

The P/E ratio essentially measures market expectations of a company. As you can see below, Agripower France has a higher P/E than the average company (16.2) in the construction industry.

ENXTPA:ALAGP Price Estimation Relative to Market, February 20th 2020

That means that the market expects Agripower France will outperform other companies in its industry. 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

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. When earnings grow, the 'E' increases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a high multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become lower in the future. Then, a lower P/E should attract more buyers, pushing the share price up.

In the last year, Agripower France grew EPS like Taylor Swift grew her fan base back in 2010; the 238% gain was both fast and well deserved. The sweetener is that the annual five year growth rate of 28% is also impressive. With that kind of growth rate we would generally expect a high P/E ratio.

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. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. Theoretically, a business can improve its earnings (and produce a lower P/E in the future) by investing in growth. That means taking on debt (or spending its cash).

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

So What Does Agripower France's Balance Sheet Tell Us?

Net debt totals just 7.3% of Agripower France's market cap. 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 Bottom Line On Agripower France's P/E Ratio

Agripower France has a P/E of 29.1. That's higher than the average in its market, which is 18.7. The company is not overly constrained by its modest debt levels, and its recent EPS growth is nothing short of stand-out. So to be frank we are not surprised it has a high P/E ratio.

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 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 Agripower France. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly.

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.