For Immediate Release
5 Value Picks with Strikingly Low EV/EBITDA Ratios
Price-to-earnings (P/E) is undoubtedly the most commonly used metric in the value investing world. This straightforward, easy-to-calculate ratio enjoys greater popularity among valuation metrics in the investment toolkit and is preferred while uncovering bargain stocks. A widely favored approach by value investors is to chase stocks with a low P/E ratio. But even this equity valuation multiple is not devoid of shortcomings.
Why EV/EBITDA is a Better Alternative?
While P/E is by far the most popular valuation metric, a more complicated metric called EV/EBITDA does a better job in working out the fair market value of a firm. Often viewed as a better substitute to P/E, this ratio offers a clearer picture of a company’s valuation and its earnings potential.
Also dubbed as the enterprise multiple, EV/EBITDA is essentially the enterprise value (EV) of a stock divided by its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). EV is the sum of a company’s market capitalization, its debt and preferred stock minus cash and cash equivalents. Essentially, it is the total value of a company.
EBITDA, the other component of the ratio, gives the true picture of a company’s profitability as it removes the impact of non-cash expenses like depreciation and amortization that depress net earnings. It is also often used as a proxy for cash flows.
Typically, the lower the EV/EBITDA ratio, the more attractive it is. A low EV/EBITDA ratio could signal that a stock is potentially undervalued and vice versa.
However, EV/EBITDA takes into account the debt on a company’s balance sheet that P/E ratio does not. Given this reason, EV/EBITDA is usually used to value possible acquisition targets, as it shows the amount of debt the acquirer has to assume. Companies with a low EV/EBITDA multiple could be seen as attractive takeover candidates.
Another downside of P/E is that it can’t be used to value a loss-making company. A company’s earnings are also subject to accounting estimates and management manipulation. EV/EBITDA, in contrast, is less amenable to manipulation and also can be used to value firms that have negative net earnings but are positive on the EBITDA side.
EV/EBITDA is also a useful tool in measuring the value of firms that are highly leveraged and have a high degree of depreciation. It also allows the comparison of companies with different debt levels.
But EV/EBITDA is not without its limitations. The ratio varies across industries (a high-growth industry typically has higher multiple and vice versa) and is usually not appropriate while comparing stocks in different industries given their diverse capital requirements.
Thus, instead of solely relying on EV/EBITDA, you can combine it with the other major ratios such as price-to-book (P/B), P/E and price-to-sales (P/S) to achieve the desired results.
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