Sunday, 7 June 2015

Which company is cheaper? (Understanding P/E, Earnings yield and EBIT/EV.)

Consider two companies, Company A and Company B.

They are actually the same company (i.e. the same sales, the same operating earnings, the same everything) except that Company A has no debt and Company B has $50 in debt (at a 10% interest rate).

All information is per share

Company A

Sales                     $100
EBIT                         10
Interest expense          0
Pretax Income           10
Taxes @ 40%             4
Net Income               $6

Company B

Sales                     $100
EBIT                         10
Interest expense           5
Pretax Income             5
Taxes @ 40%             2
Net Income               $3

The price of Company A is $60 per share.
The price of Company B is $10 per share.

Which is cheaper?

P/E of Company A is 10 ($60/6 = 10).  The E/P or earnings yield, of Company A is 10% (6/60).
P/E of Company B is 3.33 ($10/3 = 3.33). The E/P or earnings yield of Company B is 30% (3/10).

So which is cheaper?
Using P/E and earnings yield, Company B looks much cheaper than Company A.

So, is Company B clearly cheaper?

Let's look at EBIT/EV for both companies.

Company A
Enterprise value (Market price + debt)   60 + 0 = $60
EBIT   $10

Company B
Enterprise value (Market price + debt)   10 + 50 = $60
EBIT   $10

They are the same! Their EBIT/EV are the same.

To the buyer of the whole company, would it matter whether you paid $10 per share for the company and owed another $50 per share or you paid $60 and owed nothing?

It is the same thing!

*You would be buying $10 worth of EBIT for $60, either way!

Additional note:

* For example, whether you pay $200k for a building and assume a $800k mortgage or pay $1 million up front, it should be the same to you.  The building costs $1 million either way!

[Using EBIT/EV as your earnings yield provide a better picture than E/P, of how cheap or expensive the asset is.]

Pretax operating earnings or EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) was used in place of reported earnings because companies operate with different levels of debt and differing tax rates. Using EBIT allowed us to view and compare the operating earnings of different companies without the distortions arising from the differences in tax rates and debt levels.  For each company, it was then possible to compare actual earnings from operations (EBIT) to the cost of the assets used to produce those earnings (tangible capital employed) and to the price you are paying.

Returns on Capital
= EBIT / (Net Working Capital + Net Fixed Assets)

Earnings Yield
= EBIT / Enterprise Value

As an investor, you are looking for companies with high Returns on Capital and selling for a bargain or high Earnings Yield (EBIT / EV).

REF:  The Little Book that still Beats the Market by Joel Greenblatt

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