Apart from the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, another parameter that is commonly used to value stocks is price-to-book value (P/BV). But what does P/BV means and how can investors use this parameter to value their investments? In this article, we will try and simplify this concept.
How is P/BV calculated?
P/BV is a valuation ratio and is arrived at by dividing the market price of a share with the respective company's book value per share. Now, book value is equal to the shareholder's equity (share capital plus reserves and surplus). Book value can also be arrived at by subtracting current liabilities and debt from total assets. For the banking and finance companies, book value is calculated as 'share capital plus reserves minus miscellaneous assets not written off. This formula then takes care of the bank's NPAs and gives a correct picture.
FY08 Balance sheet of Infosys
Reserves & surplus
Other current assets
Deferred tax assets
If one were to take a look at Infosys' consolidated balance sheet for FY08, as mentioned above, book value will be arrived at by adding Rs 2,860 m (equity capital) and Rs 135,090 m (reserves and surplus), which equals to Rs 137,950 m. Conversely, when we deduct current liabilities from total assets, we shall arrive at a similar figure. Now, by dividing this book value (Rs 137,950 m) by the issued equity shares of the company (approx 572 m), we would arrive at the book value per share figure, which is Rs 241.2. This will be our denominator for calculating the P/BV for the Infosys stock, which currently stands at 6.6x.
P/BV figures for companies in the services industries like software and FMCG are high as compared to those of companies in the sectors like auto, engineering, steel and banking. This is because companies from the sectors like software and FMCG have low amount of tangible assets (fixed assets etc.) on their books and, as such, the P/BV may not be a correct indicator of valuation. On the other hand, old economy sectors like auto and engineering have large balance sheets, i.e., they have a large amount of fixed assets and investments. As such, P/BV is a good indicator of measuring value of stocks from these sectors.
What does P/BV indicates?
P/BV is a good metric to value stocks of companies in the capital-intensive industries like engineering, automobiles and banks, which have large amount of tangible assets in their books (balance sheet). If a company is trading at a P/BV of less than 1, this indicates any or both of the two -
Investors believe that the company's assets are overvalued, or
The company is earning a poor return on its assets.
A high P/BV indicates vice versa, i.e., markets believe the company's assets to be undervalued or that the company is earning and is expected to earn in the future a high return on its assets. Book value also has a relationship with the 'Return on Equity' of a company. In fact, book value can also be termed as equity (equity capital plus reserves and surplus). As such, for a company that earns a high return on equity, investors would be ready to give the stock a high P/BV multiple.
What does P/BV fail to indicate?
P/BV indicates the inherent value of a company and is a measure of the price that investors are ready to pay for a 'nil' growth of the company. As such, since companies in the services sectors like software and FMCG have a high growth component attached to them, P/E and not P/BV is a right measure of their valuations.
Net worth (Rs m)
No. of shares (m)
* - CY07, # - FY08 Estimate
P/BV should not be used for valuing companies with high amount of debts. This is because high debt marginalizes the value of a company's assets and, as such, P/BV can be misleading.
We hope this article was able to throw some light on the concept of P/BV and its relevance from an investor's viewpoint. The ratio has its shortcomings that investors need to recognise. However, it offers an easy-to-use tool for identifying clearly under or over valued companies.
Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "P/BV: Understanding the concept". Click here!
Thank you for posting your view on Equitymaster!
In the meantime, you may want to share this article with your friends!
Very good explanation and easy to understand. Eventhough P/BV is not the only criteria one should look for before picking a stock but a better understanding of this concept will help a person who is into value investing. I would say that the most important parameters for analyzing a stock are P/BV, P/E, Net sales, ROIC and debt to net ratio.
The amount that you spend for your or your family's education expenses can provide you tax benefits. PersonalFN explains various Sections of the Income-Tax Act that allow such deductions and exemptions.
The finances of a large number of people get messed up due to the lack of an organised approach. PersonalFN has listed down some commandments that you must follow to enjoy a stress-free financial life.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited (hereinafter referred as 'Equitymaster') is an independent equity research Company. Use of the information herein is at one's own risk. This is not an offer to sell or solicitation to buy any securities and Equitymaster will not be liable for any losses incurred or investment(s) made or decisions taken/or not taken based on the information provided herein. Information contained herein does not constitute a personal recommendation or take into account the particular investment objectives, financial situations, or needs of individual investors. Before acting on any recommendation, investors should consider whether it is suitable for their particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek an independent professional advice. All content and information is provided on an 'As Is' basis by Equitymaster. Information herein is believed to be reliable but Equitymaster does not warrant its completeness or accuracy and expressly disclaims all warranties and conditions of any kind, whether express or implied. Equitymaster may hold shares in the company/ies discussed herein. As a condition to accessing Equitymaster content and website, you agree to our Terms and Conditions of Use, available here. The performance data quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results.
Equitymaster Agora Research Private Limited. 103, Regent Chambers, Above Status Restaurant, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400 021. India. Telephone: 91-22-6143 4055. Fax: 91-22-2202 8550. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.equitymaster.com. CIN:U74999MH2007PTC175407