STERIS plc’s (NYSE:STE) Business Is Trailing The Industry But Its Shares Aren’t

You may think that with a price-to-sales (or “P/S”) ratio of 4.2x STERIS plc (NYSE:STE) is a stock to potentially avoid, seeing as almost half of all the Medical Equipment companies in the United States have P/S ratios under 3.4x and even P/S lower than 1.3x aren’t out of the ordinary. Although, it’s not wise to just take the P/S at face value as there may be an explanation why it’s as high as it is.

See our latest analysis for STERIS

NYSE:STE Price to Sales Ratio vs Industry February 15th 2024

What Does STERIS’ P/S Mean For Shareholders?

Recent times have been advantageous for STERIS as its revenues have been rising faster than most other companies. It seems that many are expecting the strong revenue performance to persist, which has raised the P/S. If not, then existing shareholders might be a little nervous about the viability of the share price.

Keen to find out how analysts think STERIS’ future stacks up against the industry? In that case, our free report is a great place to start.

Do Revenue Forecasts Match The High P/S Ratio?

The only time you’d be truly comfortable seeing a P/S as high as STERIS’ is when the company’s growth is on track to outshine the industry.

Taking a look back first, we see that the company managed to grow revenues by a handy 13% last year. Pleasingly, revenue has also lifted 77% in aggregate from three years ago, partly thanks to the last 12 months of growth. Accordingly, shareholders would have definitely welcomed those medium-term rates of revenue growth.

Shifting to the future, estimates from the eight analysts covering the company suggest revenue should grow by 6.1% each year over the next three years. That’s shaping up to be materially lower than the 9.7% each year growth forecast for the broader industry.

With this information, we find it concerning that STERIS is trading at a P/S higher than the industry. It seems most investors are hoping for a turnaround in the company’s business prospects, but the analyst cohort is not so confident this will happen. There’s a good chance these shareholders are setting themselves up for future disappointment if the P/S falls to levels more in line with the growth outlook.

The Key Takeaway

Generally, our preference is to limit the use of the price-to-sales ratio to establishing what the market thinks about the overall health of a company.

We’ve concluded that STERIS currently trades on a much higher than expected P/S since its forecast growth is lower than the wider industry. Right now we aren’t comfortable with the high P/S as the predicted future revenues aren’t likely to support such positive sentiment for long. At these price levels, investors should remain cautious, particularly if things don’t improve.

You should always think about risks. Case in point, we’ve spotted 1 warning sign for STERIS you should be aware of.

If strong companies turning a profit tickle your fancy, then you’ll want to check out this free list of interesting companies that trade on a low P/E (but have proven they can grow earnings).

Valuation is complex, but we’re helping make it simple.

Find out whether STERIS is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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