Should We Worry About Hypothekarbank Lenzburg AG's (VTX:HBLN) P/E Ratio?

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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 Hypothekarbank Lenzburg AG's (VTX:HBLN) P/E ratio to inform your assessment of the investment opportunity. Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has a P/E ratio of 15.48, based on the last twelve months. That corresponds to an earnings yield of approximately 6.5%.

See our latest analysis for Hypothekarbank Lenzburg

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for price to earnings is:

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

Or for Hypothekarbank Lenzburg:

P/E of 15.48 = CHF4480 ÷ CHF289.36 (Based on the year to December 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 CHF1 the company has earned over the last year. That isn't necessarily good or bad, but a high P/E implies relatively high expectations of what a company can achieve in the future.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

Companies that shrink earnings per share quickly will rapidly decrease the 'E' in the equation. That means even if the current P/E is low, it will increase over time if the share price stays flat. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

Hypothekarbank Lenzburg shrunk earnings per share by 5.6% last year.

How Does Hypothekarbank Lenzburg's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

We can get an indication of market expectations by looking at the P/E ratio. The image below shows that Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has a higher P/E than the average (9.3) P/E for companies in the mortgage industry.

SWX:HBLN Price Estimation Relative to Market, June 12th 2019

That means that the market expects Hypothekarbank Lenzburg will outperform other companies in its industry. Shareholders are clearly optimistic, but the future is always uncertain. So further research is always essential. I often monitor director buying and selling.

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

It's important to note that the P/E ratio considers the market capitalization, not the enterprise value. Thus, the metric does not reflect cash or debt held by the company. The exact same company would hypothetically deserve a higher P/E ratio if it had a strong balance sheet, than if it had a weak one with lots of debt, because a cashed up company can spend on 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 Hypothekarbank Lenzburg's P/E?

Hypothekarbank Lenzburg's net debt is considerable, at 147% of its market cap. This is a relatively high level of debt, so the stock probably deserves a relatively low P/E ratio. Keep that in mind when comparing it to other companies.

The Verdict On Hypothekarbank Lenzburg's P/E Ratio

Hypothekarbank Lenzburg trades on a P/E ratio of 15.5, which is below the CH market average of 18.3. When you consider that the company has significant debt, and didn't grow EPS last year, it isn't surprising that the market has muted expectations.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. 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.' Although we don't have analyst forecasts, you could get a better understanding of its growth by checking out this more detailed historical graph of earnings, revenue and cash flow.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking at a few good candidates. So take a peek at this free list of companies with modest (or no) debt, trading on a P/E 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.