Thursday, June 19

Price to Book Value ratio

P/B ratio
The Price-to-book ratio, or P/B ratio, is a financial ratio used to compare a company's book value to its current market price. Book value is an accounting term denoting the portion of the company held by the shareholders; in other words, the company's total assets less its total liabilities. The calculation can be performed in two ways but the result should be the same each way. In the first way, the company's market capitalization can be divided by the company's total book value from its balance sheet. The second way, using per-share values, is to divide the company's current share price by the book value per share (i.e. its book value divided by the number of outstanding shares).
As with most ratios, be aware this varies a fair amount by industry. Industries that require higher infrastructure capital (for each dollar of profit) will usually trade at P/B much lower than the P/B of (e.g.) consulting firms. P/B ratios are commonly used for comparison of banks, because most assets and liabilities of banks are constantly valued at market values. P/B ratios do not, however, directly provide any information on the ability of the firm to generate profits or cash for shareholders.
This ratio also gives some idea of whether an investor is paying too much for what would be left if the company went bankrupt immediately. For companies in distress the book value is usually calculated without the intangible assets that would have no resale value. In such cases P/B should also be calculated on a 'diluted' basis, because stock options may well vest on sale of the company or change of control or firing of management.

This ratio compares the market's valuation of a company to the value of that company as indicated on its financial statements. The higher the ratio, the higher the premium the market is willing to pay for the company above its hard assets. A low ratio may signal a good investment opportunity, but the ratio is less meaningful for some types of companies, such as those in technology sectors. This is because such companies have hidden assets such as intellectual property which are of great value, but not reflected in the book value. In general, price to book ratio is of more interest to value investors than growth investors.
Also known as the "Price / Equity Ratio" (which should not be confused with P/E or price/earnings ratio); or the market cap divided by shareholders' equity.


  1. What ar ethe ranges of historical price to book ratios for financial services firms...both in the normal market and if theiur are acquired (at a premium)?

  2. In case of financial services, globally, the Price to Book Value ranges from 1 to 5. Generally its around 1 - 3. But for more dynamic companies (eg involved in mergers or other businesses) it goes beyond 3 also.
    Check out the Yahoo finance to find out more