A comparable companies analysis is always used in company valuations and is a relative valuation method. The method indicates the value of similar companies in relation to different key ratios that is later compared to your business. Common key ratios in a comparable company valuation are: EV/EBITDA and EV/SALES.
1. Select the universe of comparable companies
To start with, you should try find stock-listed companies that are similar to the company you wish to estimate value on. This group of companies are called “peer group”. If you have difficulties finding such companies, try to find companies that are affected by the same external effects such as your company. For example, if you are producing windows and cannot find a listed window manufacturer, try to find companies that manufactures real estates. A listed real estate company has almost the same customers as a window producer, and are affected by changes in the economy and consumer behavior in similar ways.
Look for companies in your region and size! If you run a US company, choose companies listed in the US. If you run a global company, choose companies that also have business in several countries. If you run a small company, choose small companies and so on.
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2. Locate the necesserary financial information
If you have a database such as Bloomberg or Reuters, this step is easy. If you do not have access to these types of resources, you will have to look in annual reports, search on google, read analyses and sector reports – to gather your data. What you should look for are Valuation measures and forecasts. List your list of companies in excel to get a good overview (see our example below).
3. Spread key statistics, ratios and trading multiples
Now analyse your peer group and calculate key multiples. Commonly used multiples are EV/EBITDA, EV/SALES and growth rates.
4. Benchmark the comparable companies
5. Determine valuation in this comparable company valuation
Use the key financial numbers from the company you wish to value. For example, if your company is predicted to have sale of 100 million in 2010, this would imply an Enterprise Value of 130 million (1.3 x 100) in our example. If your company is predicted to make an EBITDA of 10 million for 2010, this implies an Enterprise Value of 83 million (8.3 x 10).
The valuation range for this company is therefore in the range: 83 – 130 million!