Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.'s (TSE:AQN) price-to-earnings (or "P/E") ratio of 25.5x might make it look like a strong sell right now compared to the market in Canada, where around half of the companies have P/E ratios below 14x and even P/E's below 7x are quite common. Although, it's not wise to just take the P/E at face value as there may be an explanation why it's so lofty.
With earnings growth that's superior to most other companies of late, Algonquin Power & Utilities has been doing relatively well. It seems that many are expecting the strong earnings performance to persist, which has raised the P/E. You'd really hope so, otherwise you're paying a pretty hefty price for no particular reason.
Want the full picture on analyst estimates for the company? Then our free report on Algonquin Power & Utilities will help you uncover what's on the horizon.
Is There Enough Growth For Algonquin Power & Utilities?
The only time you'd be truly comfortable seeing a P/E as steep as Algonquin Power & Utilities' is when the company's growth is on track to outshine the market decidedly.
If we review the last year of earnings growth, the company posted a worthy increase of 11%. This was backed up an excellent period prior to see EPS up by 393% in total over the last three years. So we can start by confirming that the company has done a great job of growing earnings over that time.
Shifting to the future, estimates from the ten analysts covering the company suggest earnings should grow by 13% over the next year. Meanwhile, the rest of the market is forecast to only expand by 1.7%, which is noticeably less attractive.
In light of this, it's understandable that Algonquin Power & Utilities' P/E sits above the majority of other companies. Apparently shareholders aren't keen to offload something that is potentially eyeing a more prosperous future.
The Bottom Line On Algonquin Power & Utilities' P/E
While the price-to-earnings ratio shouldn't be the defining factor in whether you buy a stock or not, it's quite a capable barometer of earnings expectations.
As we suspected, our examination of Algonquin Power & Utilities' analyst forecasts revealed that its superior earnings outlook is contributing to its high P/E. At this stage investors feel the potential for a deterioration in earnings isn't great enough to justify a lower P/E ratio. Unless these conditions change, they will continue to provide strong support to the share price.
Before you settle on your opinion, we've discovered 5 warning signs for Algonquin Power & Utilities (1 can't be ignored!) that you should be aware of.
If P/E ratios interest you, you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have grown earnings strongly and trade on P/E's below 20x.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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