Types of Multiples

The different types of multiples used in analysis

What is a multiple?

A is a financial measurement tool that evaluates one financial metric as a ratio of another, to make different companies more comparable. It is the proportion of one financial metric (i.e. Share Price) to another metric (i.e. Earnings per Share). It is an easy way to compute a company’s value and compare it with other companies.  Let’s examine the various types of multiples used in valuation

Using multiples in valuation analyses helps make sound judgments for analysts and companies. This is especially true when multiples are used appropriately because they provide valuable information about a company’s financial status. Furthermore, multiples are relevant because they revolve around key statistics related to investment decisions. Finally, the simplicity of multiples makes them easy to use for most analysts.

However, this simplicity can also be considered a disadvantage because of the fact that it simplifies complex information into just a single value. This simplification can lead to misinterpretation and makes it challenging to break down the effects of various factors.

Next, multiples represent a single instance of a company’s status rather than a period of time. As such, they do not easily show how a company grows or progresses. Additionally, multiples reflect short-term data instead of long-term ones. Thus, the resulting values may only be applicable on the short-term and not in the longer future.

What are the equity multiples?

Investment decisions make use of equity multiples especially when an investor aspires for minority positions in companies. The list below shows some common equity multiples used in valuation analyses.

• P/E Ratio – the most commonly used equity multiple; needed data is easily accessible; computed as the proportion of Share Price to Earnings Per Share (EPS)

• Price / Book Ratio – useful if assets primarily drive earnings; computed as the proportion of Share Price to Book Value Per Share

• Dividend Yield – used for comparisons between cash returns and investment types; computed as the proportion of Dividend Per Share to Share Price

• Price / Sales – used for firms that make losses; used for quick estimates; computed as the proportion of Share Price to Sales Per Share

However, a financial analyst must take into account that companies have varying levels of debt that ultimately influence equity multiples.

What are the enterprise value (EV) multiples?

When decisions are about mergers and acquisitions, enterprise value multiples are the appropriate multiples to use. The list below shows some common enterprise value multiples used in valuation analyses.

• EV/Sales – slightly affected by differences in accounting; computed as the proportion of Enterprise Value to Net Sales

• EV/EBITDAR – most used in industries in the hotel and transport sectors; computed as the proportion of Enterprise Value to Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation & Amortization, and Rental Costs

• EV/EBITDA – EBITDA can be used as substitute of free cash flows; most used enterprise value multiple; computed as the proportion of Enterprise Value to Enterprise value / Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation & Amortization

• EV/Invested Capital – used for capital-intensive industries; computed as the proportion of Enterprise Value to Invested Capital

There are more equity and enterprise value multiples used in company valuation, this article only presented the most common ones. More readings and a thorough understanding of each multiple and related concepts can help analysts better apply multiples in making financial analyses.