Stock / Share Market
by 5paisa Research Team Last Updated: 2023-06-21T14:53:06+05:30
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When it comes to finance and investing, there's a bunch of rations and matrics. These metrics help us determine whether a company's stock—is worth investing in or not. Among these metrics is the Price-to-Book ratio. It is a NIFTY tool that gives us valuable insights into how a company's market value is reactive to its book value. This value holds immense potential for investors seeking to make smart decisions regarding their investment portfolios. 

This article explores PB ratio meaning, its formula, and how to calculate it. Moreover, it will provide a practical example to help it all make sense. So, Let's drive in!

What Is the Price-to-Book (P/B) Ratio?

The PB Ratio, or the Price-Book ratio, is a popular financial metric that helps investors to evaluate the company's value. It compares the market price per share to the book value per share. Investors can determine whether a stock is overvalued or undervalued to its book value by using the PB ratio. It's a valuable tool for investors who seek stocks trading at a discount to their true value. 

To calculate the price to book value, divide the market price share by the book value per share. You can find this information on stock tracking websites by looking at the company's balance sheet and outstanding shares. It's typically displayed under the "financials" or "summary" tab.

How is Price to Book Value Ratio Calculated?

The PB ratio is a metric that compares a company's current market value to its accounting book value. So, how is price to book value ratio is calculated depends on The company's market capitalization and book value. 

Market capitalization: It refers to the overall value of a company in the market. It's calculated by multiplying the current share price by the total number of diluted shares outstanding. It reflects the market's perception of a company's value based on how much investors believe it is worth.

Book value: It represents the net difference between the company's asset value and total liabilities on the balance sheet. It reflects the value of the assets shareholders would receive if the company were hypothetically liquidated. Importantly, the book value is an accounting metric and not based on market value.

We use the equity value instead of the enterprise value in the calculation to avoid a mismatch in capital providers. The equity value considers the leveraged metric, accounting for the company's debt. Usually, a financial company would have a market value higher than its book value. It is because investors' expectations of future growth influence equity prices.

To calculate the P/B ratio, divide the company's market capitalization by its book value. The formula for calculating the P/B ratio is:
P/B ratio = Market Capitalization / Book Value of Equity

Alternatively, you can calculate the P/B ratio by dividing the company's latest closing share price by its most recent book value per share.
Thes can be expressed as P/B ratio = Market Share Price / Book Value of Equity Per Share.

You can check financial websites, stock exchanges, or brokerage platforms to obtain the market share price. In contrast, the book value per share is derived from the company's financial statements, especially the balance sheet. To calculate it, divide the total book value or shareholders' equity by the number of outstanding shares.

Note: Generally, a company's book equity value is rarely lower than its market value except in special circumstances.

P/B Ratios and Public Companies

Determining whether a stock is "undervalued" or "a good investment" can be challenging. Especially when considering the price-to-book ratio. It's not easy to pinpoint the specific numeric value that defines a "good" P/B ratio. Instead of fixing on a single number, establish some general parameters or range for the P/B ratio. It sets the foundation for further analysis of other factors and valuation measures. It provides a more accurate interpretation of the P/B ratio and predicts a company's potential for growth.

Value investors have favoured the P/B ratio for many years, and market analysts widely use it. Traditionally, a P/B ratio <1 has been considered desirable for value investors. It indicates a potentially undervalued stock that could be worth investing in. However, it's worth noting that some value investors have a more relaxed benchmark and may consider stocks with a P/B ratio of <3 as acceptable. This border range allows for more flexibility in identifying undervalued stocks. It gives investors a larger pool of potential investment to consider.

Ultimately, the P/B ratio is one tool among many for evaluating stocks. It should be used with other indicators and analyses to make effective investment decisions.

P/B Ratio vis-á-vis Return on Equity

The P/B ratio and Return on Equity (ROE) are two important factors. By using these factors, investors evaluate the company's potential. ROE measures the relationship between a company's equity and its net income. It represents its profitability. Another way to consider it is the return on a company's net assets, which is the difference between its total assets and liabilities.

Combined with the P/B ratio, these metrics provide valuable insights into a company's growth prospects. Value investors generally prefer to see a company's ROE increase along with its profit-to-book value ratio. If there is a significant difference between a company's ROE and P/B ratio. It could be a warning sign for investors. A high profit-to-book ratio and a low ROE suggest a company may be overvalued.

Importantly, the P/B ratio and ROE should be evaluated in isolation. They are just part of a more comprehensive analysis of stocks. Investors should carefully consider other parameters before making any decision. Whether to invest in a particular stock or not. Taking a broader perspective helps ensure a well-informed investment strategy.

Interpretation of P/B Value Ratio

Interpreting the price to book value can provide valuable insights into a company's evaluation and investment potential. It is influenced by several factors, including the industry in which the company operates, its growth prospects and the overall market conditions. 

If the price to book ratio is high, investors have high expectations for the company's future growth. PB ratio > 1 usually implies that the market price is trading at the company's book value premium. It could mean that the stock is overvalued and has high future growth.

Conversely, a low PB ratio indicates that the market has relatively low expectations for the company's prospects. A PB value <1 typically suggests that the stock may be undervalued. It means the market price is trading below the company's book value, presenting a potential opportunity for investors to purchase the stock at a relatively low price. 

Value investors often rely on the price to book value ratio to identify undervalued company stocks. It helps them to assess the market's perception of a company's equity value compared to its actual book value. However, to better understand a company's valuation, compare its PB ratio with its industry peers or historical averages. Remember that the PB ratio should not be considered in isolation. To comprehensively understand an investment opportunity, use other financial ratios. These can be the price-to-earning (P/E) ratio and an assessment of the company's growth prospects.

Limitations of Using the P/B Ratio

Future Earnings Potential: The PB ratio fails to consider a company's future earnings potential, which is crucial for determining its true value. Investors should know that the ratio relies solely on historical accounting values and may not reflect the company's growth prospects.

Intangible Assets: The PB ratio overlooks intangible assets such as brand value and intellectual property. These assets can be highly valuable in certain industries and significantly impact a company's overall worth. Ignoring them may provide an incomplete picture of the company's true value.

Accounting Standards and International Comparability: Different accounting standards employed by companies. Especially those operating in different countries can make the P/B ratio less comparable. Investors should be cautious when comparing companies across borders and consider the potential impact of accounting variations on the ratio's interpretation.

Limited Applicability to Certain Industries: Service and information technology companies often have minimal tangible assets on their balance sheets. These make the PB ratio less useful in evaluating their value. Investors should be cautious when relying solely on the price to book ratio for these types of companies and consider additional valuation measures.

Negative Book Values and Distorted Figures: Companies with a long history of negative earnings can result in negative book values. It renders the PB ratio useless for relative valuation. Additionally, recent acquisitions, write-offs, or share buybacks can distort the book value figure and affect the accuracy of the ratio. Investors should be aware of these potential distortions.

Example of How to Use the P/B Ratio

Example 1: Let's dive into an example to understand how the price-to-book value ratio works. Suppose a company named ABC Inc. They have a market share of $80 and a book value per share of $20. Use the P/B ratio of this company to calculate it, and divide the market share by the book value per share. Therefore the P/B ratio is $80 / $20 = 4. 

It implies that the market value of their shares is 4 times the book value. But if the P/B ratio is less than 1, it suggests that the stock might be undervalued. Conversely, if the ratio is greater than 1, it indicates potential overvaluation. However, it's crucial to consider the industry and compare it with similar companies when interpreting the PB ratio.

Example 2: Now, let's take another example, a company with $100 million in assets and $75 million in liabilities on its balance sheet. By subtracting the liabilities from the assets, the company's book value would be $25 million ($100M - $75M).

Suppose there are 10 million shares outstanding. Each share represents $2.50 of book value ($25M / 10M). If the current share price is $5, the P/B ratio would be $5 divided by $2.50, resulting in 2.0.
This example illustrates that the market price is twice the book value, which may or may not indicate overvaluation. To determine the significance, it's important to compare it with similar-sized companies in the same sector.

The P/B ratio may be less useful for evaluating companies with fewer tangible assets on their balance sheets. In such cases, additional valuation methods might be appropriate.

These examples demonstrate how the PB ratio can be calculated in different scenarios. Remember, it's always important to consider the industry context and compare with similar companies before concluding based solely on the PB ratio.

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