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Price - Book Value Ratio (P/BV or P/B Ratio)

The price to book value ratio, or PBV ratio, compares the market and book value of the company. Imagine a company is about to be liquidated. It sells of all its assets, and pays off all its debts. Whatever is left over is the book value of the company. The PBV ratio is the market price per share divided by the book value per share. For example, a stock with a PBV ratio of 2 means that we pay Rs 2 for every Rs. 1 of book value. The higher the PBV, the more expensive the stock.

Most companies have a PBV greater than one. This means that its market value is higher than its book value. Why is this the case? There are two reasons:

First, investors will pay a premium above the book value if the company is expected to generate enough earnings in the future. These earnings justify a market value above the book value.

Second, the book value of the firm may not be up to date. For example, the value of an asset on a company's balance sheet often reflects what the firm paid for the asset. This is not necessarily what the asset is currently worth. The best example of this is property, which typically increases in value over time. In this case, the true book value is higher than what the financial statements imply.

The PBV is most relevant for firms that are close to liquidation or bankruptcy. If a firm is liquidated, shareholders receive the book value. Once caveat here is that the bankruptcy process is costly. There is no guarantee that shareholders receive the entire book value for a liquidated firm.

The PBV ratio is more useful for firms that hold assets of tangible value. Manufacturing firms are a good example. They hold property, machinery, plants, etc. For firms with few tangible assets, the book value is less relevant. For example, companies that consists solely of employees, computers, and office space, don't have a meaningful book value.

The Price - Book Value Ratio Formula

The PBV ratio is the market price per share divided by the book value per share. The market price per share is simply the stock price. The book value per share is a firm's assets minus its liabilities, divided by the total number of shares.

PBV ratio = market price per share / book value per share

Calculating the Price - Book Value Ratio, An Example

Suppose Baja Auto's current stock price is Rs 3,135. And their most recent book value per share is Rs 598. Using our formula gives us a PBV ratio of 5.32.

Bajaj Auto PBV = Rs 3,135 / Rs 598 = 5.32

Comparing Price - Book Value Ratio with Other Indicators

How does the PBV ratio compare to other indicators, such as price to earnings (PE) or price to cash flow (PCF)? When valuing a company, the PE ratio is most commonly used measure. This is because when we buy shares in a company, we are buying into their future earnings. Earnings is what is left for shareholders once all expenses are paid. The PCF ratio measures how much we are paying for a company's cash flow. This could be quite different from earnings if the company has significant capital expenditures, or non cash items on their income statement. Both the PE and PCF ratio are computed based on a firm's operations over a period of time. For example, earnings or cash flows during the last quarter. The PBV ratio is different. It is computed based on firm's assets and liabilities, which come from the balance sheet.

The PBV ratio is most relevant for firms that are close to liquidation. This is not the case for the majority of firms. That said, it is still a useful measure, particularly when comparing firms in similar industries. Occasionally, you will find firms with a PBV ratio below one. This could be a potential buying opportunity, but it must be investigated carefully.

India's Most Attractive Companies Based on Price to Book Value Ratio

In this live data section, you can find the stocks with the most attractive PBV ratios.

SCRIP* P/BV(x) GET MORE INFO
CASTEX TECHNOLOGIES 0.0  More Info 
VISESH INFOTECHNICS 0.0  More Info 
TARA JEWELS 0.1  More Info 
TREE HOUSE 0.1  More Info 
RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS 0.1  More Info 
ORBIT CORP 0.1  More Info 
GUJ.NRE COKE 0.1  More Info 
PRATIBHA INDS 0.1  More Info 
BSEL INFRASTRUCTURE 0.1  More Info 
GUJARAT FOILS 0.1  More Info 

The Stock Screener runs on Equitymaster's own database, which comprises India's leading 578 companies.
*Data is consolidated wherever applicable

>> Here's the full list of India's most attractively valued companies


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