What is Price to Book Value?
Price to Book Value Ratio or P/B Ratio is one of the most important ratios used for Relative Valuations. It is usually used along with other valuation tools like PE Ratio, PCFPCFPrice to Cash Flow Ratio is a value indicator that measures a company's stock price in relation to the cash flow amount it generates. This is determined as the ratio of Price Per Share to Operating Cash Flow Per Share. , EV/EBITDAEV/EBITDAEV to EBITDA is the ratio between enterprise value and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization that helps the investor in the valuation of the company at a very subtle level by allowing the investor to compare a specific company to the peer company in the industry as a whole, or other comparative industries., etc. It is most applicable for identifying stock opportunities in Financial companies, especially Banks. The price to book value ratio is one of the relative valuation tools used to measure stock valuation.
A good price to book value ratio according to value investors is less than 1.0. On the other hand, a high ratio implies that the company’s market value is significantly higher than its accounting value. Investors would want the management to create more value for the stock to become more attractive for investors.
Table of contents
Price To Book Value Explained
Price to book value is a metric closely followed by investors to find a company’s market capital in comparison to its book value. Investors look to find low price to book value stocks to make greater gains.
This metric helps the investor to understand if the market value of the company is higher than its book value or otherwise. This in turn becomes a deciding factor in terms of buying the stock or not. Because stocks with price to book value greater than 1.0 indicates that the market value of the company is significantly higher than its accounting or book value.
Moreover, this also helps with companies close to bankrupcy or liquidation as investors are compensated based on the book value and not the market values in scenarios of this nature.
It is also important to note that manufacturing companies or any company with tangible assets like machinery, plants, properties, etc. have a meaningful book value. However, companies with intangible assets like employees, office space, etc. have a less relevance in terms of book value.
Price to Book Value Ratio = Price Per Share / Book Value Per ShareBook Value Per ShareThe book value per share (BVPS) formula evaluates the actual value of the common equity for each outstanding share, excluding the preferred stock value. A higher BVPS compared to the market value per share indicates an overvaluation of stocks and vice-versa.
Please note that Book value = Shareholder’s Equity = Net WorthNet WorthThe company's net worth can be calculated using two methods: the first is to subtract total liabilities from total assets, and the second is to add the company's share capital (both equity and preference) as well as reserves and surplus..
If this ratio of the stock is 5x, this implies that the share’s current market price is trading at five times the book value (as obtained from the balance sheet).
How To Calculate?
Let us now understand the steps involved in the calculation of price to book value ratio through the discussion below and example.
Let us apply the Price to Book Value formulaBook Value FormulaThe book value formula determines the net asset value receivable by the common shareholders if the company dissolves. It is calculated by deducting the preferred stocks and total liabilities from the total assets of the company. to calculate Citigroup’s P/B Ratio. First, we require Citigroup’s Balance sheetBalance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the company. details. You may download Citigroup’s 10K report from here.
The below table shows the Consolidated Shareholder’s equity section found on Page 133
From the table above, Citigroup’s shareholders’ equity was $221,857 million in 2015 and $210,185 million in 2014.
Corresponding common stock outstanding numbers are 3,099.48 million shares in 2015 and 3,083.037 million in 2014.
Citigroup’s Book value in 2015 = $221,857 / 3099.48 = 71.57
Citigroup’s Book value in 2014 = $210,185 / 3,083.037 = 68.174
Price of Citigroup as of 4th march, 2016 was $42.83
Citigroup P/BV 2014 = $42.83/71.57 = 0.5983x
Citigroup P/BV 2015 = $42.83/68.174 = 0.6282x
Also, note that Assets = Liabilities + Shareholder’s Equity (Simple accounting equationAccounting EquationAccounting Equation is the primary accounting principle stating that a business's total assets are equivalent to the sum of its liabilities & owner’s capital. This is also known as the Balance Sheet Equation & it forms the basis of the double-entry accounting system. )
Shareholder’s Equity or Book Value = Assets – Liabilities.
If you wish to brush up on your accounting basics, you can look at this Basic AccountingBasic AccountingAccounting is the formal process through which a company attempts to present its financial information in a way that is both auditable and usable by the general public. Tutorial.
In the case of Citigroup, we could have also used an alternated formula, as provided above.
Let us understand the concept better to learn how to spot low price to book value stocks with the help of a few examples sector-wise.
Example #1- Software Companies
In this section, we see how the P/B Ratio of Software companies is calculated and whether it makes sense for us to apply the P/B ratio for valuing Software companies. The case study under consideration here is Microsoft.
Please download Microsoft 10K Report for Balance Sheet Details as to the first step.
Key Observation of Microsoft Balance Sheet (in the context of Book Value)
- Microsoft has a high amount of Cash and Cash EquivalentsCash And Cash EquivalentsCash and Cash Equivalents are assets that are short-term and highly liquid investments that can be readily converted into cash and have a low risk of price fluctuation. Cash and paper money, US Treasury bills, undeposited receipts, and Money Market funds are its examples. They are normally found as a line item on the top of the balance sheet asset. .
- Microsoft Property plant and equipment is less than 10% of the total assets.
- Its inventory is low as compared to Asset Size.
- Goodwill and Intangible AssetsIntangible AssetsIntangible Assets are the identifiable assets which do not have a physical existence, i.e., you can't touch them, like goodwill, patents, copyrights, & franchise etc. They are considered as long-term or long-living assets as the Company utilizes them for over a year. are greater than Tangible Assets.
With a general understanding of a Software company’s balance sheet, let us now look at the Historical P/B Ratio of some of the Internet/Software companies.
The below graph shows a quick comparison of the Historical Book values of Microsoft, Google, Citrix, and Facebook.
- It can be noted that the P/B ratio is generally higher for software companies. We note that for the above companies, the price to book value ratio is higher than 4-5x.
- The primary reason for the higher P/B Ratio is low tangible assets compared to the total assets.
- The value derived from the above may not be the correct number to look at. internet and software companies have a higher amount of intangible assets, and therefore, the Book
- (as seen in the Microsoft Balance Sheet)
- Please note that due to this reason, we do not use the Price Book Value ratio as a valuation ratio for companies that have a low amount of tangible assets.
- Additionally, in most cases, these companies are high-growth companies where we can apply alternate measures like PE or PEG ratioPEG RatioThe PEG ratio compares the P/E ratio of a company to its expected rate of growth. A PEG ratio of 1.0 or lower, on average, indicates that a stock is undervalued. A PEG ratio greater than 1.0 indicates that a stock is overvalued. to incorporate growth during valuations.
Other sectors where you will find a higher Price to Book value ratio and CAN NOT apply P/B Ratio.
- Internet Companies like Amazon, JD.com, Google, Alibaba, eBay
- FMCG Companies like Colgate, P&G, Walmart, Cadbury, Coca-cola
Example #2-Automobile Companies
As noted above, the P/B ratio is not the right valuation multiple for Internet Companies. In this section, let us evaluate if it makes sense for automobile companies or not. First, we take the example of General Motors.
You can download the General Motors 10K report from here.
Key Observation on General Motors Balance Sheet
- General Motors have a higher proportion of Tangible AssetsTangible AssetsTangible assets are assets with significant value and are available in physical form. It means any asset that can be touched and felt could be labeled a tangible one with a long-term valuation. as a % of total assets (more than 30%)
- General Motors’ assets include Inventories, Capital and Operating LeasesOperating LeasesAn operating lease is a type of lease that allows one party (the lessee), to use an asset held by another party (the lessor) in exchange for rental payments that are less than the asset's economic rights for a particular period and without transferring any ownership rights at the end of the lease term., and Other Assets.
- Intangible Assets are much lower (less than 3% of the total asset size)
- Since the balance sheet contains a higher proportion of tangible assets, we can apply the Price to Book value ratio as a valuation proxy.
The below graph shows a quick comparison of the Historical Book values of General Motors, Ford, Toyota Motors, and Nissan.
Key Highlights of Price to book value ratio of Automobile Companies
Automobile companies generally have a Price to Book value ratio greater than 1.0x.
This normally happens because their asset book value underestimates their replacement value.
Even though we can apply a P/B ratio as a proxy for the automobile company’s valuation, it is still noted as the primary valuation tool for such capital-intensive sectors. However, some analysts may consider this in the comparable comp tableComparable Comp TableComparable comps are nothing but identifying relative valuations like an expert to find the firm's fair value. The comparable comp process starts with identifying the comparable companies, then selecting the right valuation tools, and finally preparing a table that can provide easy inferences about the fair valuation of the industry and the company..
Other capital-intensive sectors where PB can be used as a proxy valuation tool.
- Industrial Firms like Siemens, General Electric, BASF, Bosch, etc
- Oil and Gas Companies like PetroChina, Sinopec, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, etc.
Example #3- Banking
We have noted that P/B ratios cannot be applied to Internet and software companies from the above. However, we can still use these ratios for capital-intensiveCapital IntensiveCapital intensive refers to those industries or companies that require significant upfront capital investments in machinery, plant & equipment to produce goods or services in high volumes and maintain higher levels of profit margins and return on investments. Examples include oil & gas, automobiles, real estate, metals & mining. proxy companies like automobiles and Oil & Gas. So let us now look at if the price to book value makes sense for Financial Sectors.
Let us look at the Balance Sheet of Citigroup. You may download Citigroup’s 10K report from here.
Key Observation of Citigroup’s Balance Sheet
- Banks have assets and liabilities that are periodically marked to market, as they are mandatory under regulations. So, the Balance Sheet value represents the market value, unlike other industries where the Balance Sheet represents the historical cost of the assets/liabilities.
- Bank assets include investments in government bonds, high-grade corporate bondsCorporate BondsCorporate Bonds are fixed-income securities issued by companies that promise periodic fixed payments. These fixed payments are broken down into two parts: the coupon and the notional or face value. or municipal bonds, and commercial, mortgage, or personal loans that are generally expected to be collectible.
The below graph shows a quick comparison of the Historical Book values of JPMorgan, UBS, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley.
Why Price Book Value ratio can be used to value Banking Stocks
- Since Banking Assets and Liabilities are periodically marked to marketMarked To MarketMarking to market (MTM) is the concept of recording the accounts, i.e., the assets and liabilities at their fair value or at the current market price, which varies with time rather than historical cost. It helps to represent the company's actual financial condition., their assets and liabilities represent the fair or the market value. Hence, the P/B ratio can be used for valuing Banking Stocks.
- Under ideal conditions, the price/book value (P/BV) ratio should be close to 1, though it would not be surprising to find a P/BV ratio of less than one for a bank with a large amount of Non Performing Assets.
- It is also possible to find a P/BV ratio above 1 for a bank with significant growth opportunities due to its location because it is a desirable mergerMergerMerger refers to a strategic process whereby two or more companies mutually form a new single legal venture. For example, in 2015, ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co and Kraft Foods Group Inc merged their business to become Kraft Heinz Company, a leading global food and beverage firm. candidate or because of its use of technology in banking.
Let us understand the limitations of deriving the price to book value ratio through the discussion below.
- Book value only takes into consideration the tangible value of the firm. Intangible economic assets like human capital are not considered in the P/B ratio.
- The effect of technology upgrades, Intellectual Property, Inflation, etc., can cause the book and market values of assets to differ significantly.
- Accounting PoliciesAccounting PoliciesAccounting policies refer to the framework or procedure followed by the management for bookkeeping and preparation of the financial statements. It involves accounting methods and practices determined at the corporate level. adopted by the management can significantly impact the Book Value. For example, the Straight-line method vs. Accelerated depreciation method can drastically change the Net Property Plant and equipmentProperty Plant And EquipmentProperty plant and equipment (PP&E) refers to the fixed tangible assets used in business operations by the company for an extended period or many years. Such non-current assets are not purchased frequently, neither these are readily convertible into cash. value.
- Additionally, the Business model can also lead to differences in Book Value. A company that outsources production will have a lower book value of assetsBook Value Of AssetsBook Value of Assets is the asset's value in the books of records of a company or an institution at any given instance. Assets Book Value Formula = Total Value of an Asset – Depreciation – Other Expenses Directly Related to it than a company that produces goods in-house.
Historical P/B ratio vs. Forward P/B
Like the Trailing PE and the Forward PE, we can have a similar formula for Price to Book Value ratio.
Historical P/B = Current Price / Book Value (historical)
Forward P/B = Current Price / Book Value (Forward, forecast)
The price to book value of history is relatively straightforward to find out from the balance sheet. However, the forward Book Values might get slightly tricky.
There are two things that you can do to obtain the book value –
- The easier (and expensive) way is to access Factiva or Bloomberg, where we get such data in an easily downloadable format. You need to provide the ticker and download the consensus book to the value forecast.
- The difficult one is to prepare the financial model and project Balance Sheet of the company under consideration. It involves preparing a full three statement financial modelThree Statement Financial ModelA 3 statement model is a type of financial modeling that connects three key financial statements: income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. It prepares a dynamically linked single economic model used as the base of complex financial models like leverage buyout, discounted cash flow, merger models, and other financial models.. If you want to learn more about Financial modeling from scratch, you can take this Financial modeling in Excel.
Let us take an example of how we can incorporate Trailing and Forward Price to Book Value ratios to identify the cheapest and most expensive stock from the consideration set.
Calculate the historical PB and Forward PB
AAA Bank, Historical Book Value is $500.0, and its Current Market Price is $234.
Trailing P/B Ratio = $234 / $500 = 0.5x
Likewise, we can calculate the Forward Price to Book Value ratio of AAA Bank. AAA 2016 estimated Book Value is $400.0, and its current price is $234.
Forward P/B Ratio = $234 / $400 = $0.6x
Some of the things to consider regarding the Historical and Forward Price to Book Value Ratio
- If Book Value is expected to increase, the Forward P/B ratio will be lower than the Historical Ratios. We can observe this in the case of BBB Bank and CCC Bank, where the Book Value forecast increased in 2016 and 2017.
- However, if Book Value is expected to show a decline in the future, you will note that the Forward P/B ratio will be higher than the Historical P/B Ratio. This can be observed in Bank AAA and Bank EEE, where the Book value declines.
- There can also be a case where book value does not show any trend, for example, in Bank DDD, where Book value increases in 2016 and thereby decreases in 2017. We will not see any particular trend in the Price to Book Value Ratio in such cases.
How to use Price to Book Ratio for valuations?
Let us start with the table that we have above. Assuming that this comparable comp lists relevant competition and important financial numbers like Price, Market CapMarket CapMarket capitalization is the market value of a company’s outstanding shares. It is computed as the product of the total number of outstanding shares and the price of each share., Book value, etc.
Can you guess which is the cheapest and the most expensive bank from the above table?
Hint – Take both the Historical P/B Ratio and Forward P/B Ratio into consideration.
Which is the cheapest bank?
- The cheapest bank from the table provided is AAA Bank. Its Historical Price to Book Value ratio is 0.5x, and the forecast is 0.6x and 0.7x in 2016 and 2017
- However, I feel there is a catch here. The book value declines each year, and the forward P/B ratio may increase further. The declining book value can be due to limited growth opportunities or forecasted losses.
- Bank BBB may be a safe bet, given its Book value is growing, and its P/B ratio is closer to 1x in the future.
Which is the Most Expensive bank?
- There can be two banks under consideration for the most expensive bank – Bank CCC and Bank EEE.
- Looking at the book value numbers of EEE, it seems that they are experiencing losses each year, thereby leading to a decrease in book value.
- However, Bank CCC shows an increase in book value in future years, thereby making it a safer bet.
- I think I will refrain from Bank EEE compared to Bank CCC due to the reasons above.
Relationship between P/B Ratio and ROE
The price to book value ratio is closely related to the ROE of the company.
(Price/Book Value Per share) = (Price/EPS) x (EPS/Book Value Per share)
Now, Price/EPS is nothing but a PE ratioPE RatioThe price to earnings (PE) ratio measures the relative value of the corporate stocks, i.e., whether it is undervalued or overvalued. It is calculated as the proportion of the current price per share to the earnings per share. .
EPS/Book value per share formula is ROE (remember, ROE = Net Income / Shareholder’s Equity or Book Value)
Because of its close linkage to return on equityReturn On EquityReturn on Equity (ROE) represents financial performance of a company. It is calculated as the net income divided by the shareholders equity. ROE signifies the efficiency in which the company is using assets to make profit. (Price to book is PE multiplied by ROE), it is useful to view price to book value together with ROE.
- General Rule of Thumb
- Overvalued: Low ROE + High P/BV Ratio
- Undervalued: High ROE + Low P/BV Ratio
It applies to those industries that need to revalue their balance sheet assets every year. Used in valuing Financials, especially banks, which squeeze a small spread from a large base of assets (loans) and multiply that spread by utilizing high levels of leverage (deposits)
Price to Book Value Ratio (P/B Ratio) Video
This article is a guide to Price to Book Value Ratio & what is it. Here we discuss its formula, how to calculate, example, limitations. You may also have a look at the following articles –