What Is Price to Tangible Book Value (PTBV)?

Price to tangible book value (PTBV) is a valuation ratio expressing the price of a security compared to its hard or tangible assets' book value as reported in the company's balance sheet. The tangible book value number is equal to the company's total book value less the value of any intangible assets, such as patents, intellectual property, goodwill, etc.

Key Takeaways

  • Price to tangible book value (PTBV) measures a company's market value relative to its hard or tangible assets.
  • The tangible book value number is equal to the company's total book value less the value of any intangible assets.
  • In theory, a stock's tangible book value per share represents the amount of money an investor would receive for each share if a company were to cease operations and liquidate all of its assets.
  • Stocks that trade at higher PTBV ratios have the potential to leave investors with greater share price losses than those that trade at lower ratios.
  • PTBV is applicable mainly to industrial or capital-intensive companies that own a relatively high proportion of hard assets.

Understanding Price to Tangible Book Value (PTBV)

A tangible asset (hard asset) is one owned by a company that can be physically touched or handled. Examples include machinery, equipment, raw materials, inventories, vehicles, property, and so on.

In theory, a stock's tangible book value per share represents the amount of money an investor would receive for each share if a company were to cease operations and liquidate all of its assets at the value recorded on the company's accounting books.

As a rule of thumb, stocks that trade at higher PTBV ratios have the potential to leave investors with greater share price losses than those that trade at lower ratios, since the tangible book value per share can reasonably be viewed as the lowest price at which a stock could trade.

The PTBV Formula

PTBV = Share Price / Tangible Book Value Per Share

Where:

When to Use Price to Tangible Book Value (PTBV)

PTBV is applicable mainly to industrial or capital-intensive companies that own a relatively high proportion of hard assets, as opposed to firms that engage in light manufacturing or operate in service-oriented industries.

PTBV is rather meaningless as a valuation measure in the technology sector, for instance, because much of a tech company's valuation derives from intellectual property, an intangible asset. An investor must also be careful with PTBV for companies that have long-held land. The land is stated at historical cost, not marked up each year on the balance sheet, resulting in a deceivingly high PTBV ratio.

Example of Price to Tangible Book Value (PTBV)

At the end of 2020, the tangible book value of General Motors was $44.44 billion (total assets of $235.19 billion less $5.23 billion of goodwill and intangible assets less $185.52 billion in liabilities). $1.4 billion shares were outstanding, yielding a tangible book value per share of $31.74.

The closing price per share of GM on the last day of 2020 was $41.64. Therefore, PTBV was $41.64/$31.74, or 1.31. An analyst could study the trend of this ratio or compare it with those of its peer group.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does PTBV Differ From Price-to-Book (P/B)?

These two measures are nearly identical, except P/B will include the book value of all assets, inclusive of intangible assets. PTBV excludes intangible assets such as intellectual property (patents, trademarks, etc.) and goodwill.

When Is PTBV Most Useful?

Today, many companies derive a great deal of value from intangible assets and may not have very many tangible assets on their balance sheet. Thus, PTBV is most useful when evaluating capital-intensive companies that rely on hard assets, such as manufacturers or miners.

What Does PTBV Represent?

PTBV represents the market value of a company's shares as a multiple against the amount it would receive if it sold all of its hard assets.