Is Now The Time To Buy Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc?

The Motley Fool

I'm always searching for shares that can help ordinary investors like you make money from the stock market.

So right now I am trawling through the FTSE 100 and giving my verdict on every member of the blue-chip index. Simply put, I'm hoping to pinpoint the very best buying opportunities in today's uncertain market.

Today I am looking at Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) (NYSE: RBS.US) to determine whether you should consider buying the shares at 302p.

I am assessing each company on several ratios:

Price/Earnings (P/E): Does the share look good value when compared against its competitors?

Price Earnings Growth (PEG): Does the share look good value factoring in predicted growth?

Yield: Does the share provide a solid income for investors?

Dividend Cover: Is the dividend sustainable?

So let's look at the numbers:



3-yr EPS growth

Projected P/E



3-yr dividend growth

Dividend cover

Royal Bank of Scotland








The consensus analyst estimate for this year's earnings per share is 28.7p (57% growth) and dividend per share is 0.17p (reinstated).

Firstly, I must mention that the consensus analyst estimate for this year's earnings per share is based on underlying earnings, which excludes items such as mis-selling provisions and restructuring costs, and which could significantly affect the estimate. In addition, the three-year earnings per share growth rate is based on the same underlying figures.

Anyway, using underlying earnings, RBS is currently trading on a projected P/E of 10.5, cheaper than its peers in the banking sector, which are currently trading on an average P/E of around 19.5.

RBS's P/E and high growth rate give a PEG ratio of around 0.2, implying the share is cheap for the near-term earnings growth the firm is expected to produce.

Unfortunately, RBS has not paid a dividend since 2008. However, the consensus analyst view is that RBS will offer a small dividend for 2013.

Is RBS a suitable investment yet?

As I have written before, I do not like financial stocks. In particular, I do not like the risks contained within bank balance sheets and the minefields they can become.

That said, similar to its peer Lloyds Banking, RBS has undergone a significant restructuring programme during the past few years and the changes are starting to show through.

Indeed, RBS's underlying profit reached £3 billion during 2012, almost double that of 2011. However, RBS was forced to take an accounting charge relating to the value of its own debt, which pushed the company into a loss for the year.

Nonetheless, RBS has made progress in other areas, especially the restructuring of its balance sheet. Indeed, the company's Tier 1 capital ratio is now at 10.3%, while loans as a percentage of capital have come down to a sustainable level of 100% to indicate all of RBS's loans are now covered by customer deposits.

Furthermore, RBS continues to sell off non-core assets in order to pay down debt and strengthen its balance sheet. Indeed, RBS recently spun off insurer Direct Line and is planning to sell part of its stake in US retail bank Citizens Financial.

In addition, management believes that 2013 will the bank's last year of major restructuring.

Overall, RBS has been working hard during the past five years to put itself back together. So, taking into account the growth of RBS's underlying profit and prospects of a dividend, I believe now looks to be a good time to buy RBS at 302p.

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In the meantime, please stay tuned for my next verdict on a FTSE 100 share.