Here's What Lampsa Hellenic Hotels S.A.'s (ATH:LAMPS) P/E Is Telling Us

Simply Wall St

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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 Lampsa Hellenic Hotels S.A.'s (ATH:LAMPS), to help you decide if the stock is worth further research. What is Lampsa Hellenic Hotels's P/E ratio? Well, based on the last twelve months it is 34.48. In other words, at today's prices, investors are paying €34.48 for every €1 in prior year profit.

View our latest analysis for Lampsa Hellenic Hotels

How Do I Calculate A Price To Earnings Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

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

Or for Lampsa Hellenic Hotels:

P/E of 34.48 = €20 ÷ €0.58 (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2018.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. 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 Does Lampsa Hellenic Hotels'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. As you can see below, Lampsa Hellenic Hotels has a higher P/E than the average company (19.5) in the hospitality industry.

ATSE:LAMPS Price Estimation Relative to Market, July 12th 2019

Its relatively high P/E ratio indicates that Lampsa Hellenic Hotels 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.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Earnings growth rates have a big influence on P/E ratios. That's because companies that grow earnings per share quickly will rapidly increase the 'E' in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is high, it will reduce over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look expensive based on past earnings, it could be cheap based on future earnings.

Lampsa Hellenic Hotels increased earnings per share by a whopping 43% last year. And its annual EPS growth rate over 5 years is 30%. I'd therefore be a little surprised if its P/E ratio was not relatively high.

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

The 'Price' in P/E reflects the market capitalization of the company. 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 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 Lampsa Hellenic Hotels's P/E?

Lampsa Hellenic Hotels's net debt is 21% of its market cap. It would probably deserve a higher P/E ratio if it was net cash, since it would have more options for growth.

The Bottom Line On Lampsa Hellenic Hotels's P/E Ratio

Lampsa Hellenic Hotels's P/E is 34.5 which is above average (16.8) in its market. 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 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 might want to assess this data-rich visualization of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

But note: Lampsa Hellenic Hotels 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).

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.