In the wake of the great financial crisis it can sometimes be difficult for Intelligent Investors to find a solid financial company in which to invest, because they require specific achievements over the historical period. Many investors may simply decide to throw out the worst years with the rationale that they are outliers that shouldn’t be considered when evaluating the company’s prospects, but doing so would involve speculation. We don’t know whether the financial crisis will happen again, but we do know that if it does, we can expect to see similar results as we did before. By continuing to require the same standards for the historical period, Intelligent Investors are able to widdle down banks to only those with the best financial position, and then they are able to determine an intrinsic value to get a sense of whether the company is a good investment. In addition, a company must have strong financial statements to prove that it is stable enough for Intelligent Investors. This is best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another company. By using the ModernGraham method one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries. What follows is a specific look at how Aflac Inc. fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Aflac Incorporated (Aflac) is a general business holding company and acts as a management company, overseeing the operations of its subsidiaries by providing management services. Its business is supplemental health and life insurance, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus, which operates in the United States and as a branch in Japan. Aflac’s insurance business consists of two segments: Aflac Japan and Aflac U.S. Aflac Japan sells voluntary supplemental insurance products, including cancer plans, general medical indemnity plans, medical/sickness riders, care plans, living benefit life plans, ordinary life insurance plans and annuities. Aflac U.S. sells voluntary supplemental insurance products including loss-of-income products and products designed to protect individuals from depletion of assets (hospital indemnity, fixed-benefit dental, vision care, accident, cancer, critical illness/ critical care, and hospital intensive care plans).
Defensive Investor – must pass all 6 of the following tests: Score = 6/6
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion – PASS
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years – PASS
- Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years – PASS
- Earnings Growth – earnings per share has increased by at least 1/3 over the last 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end of period – PASS
- Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 – PASS
- Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 – PASS
Enterprising Investor – must pass all 3 of the following tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 3/3
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 5 years – PASS
- Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend – PASS
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago – PASS
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$86.45|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$50.68|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||0.94%|
Balance Sheet – 3/31/2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Aflac accomplishes a rare feat by passing all of the requirements of both the Defensive Investor and the Enterprising Investor. Neither investor type has any major concerns with the company, and all value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel comfortable proceeding with further research into the company and comparing it to competitors such as through a review of ModernGraham’s valuation of Chubb Corporation (CB) and ModernGraham’s valuation of Allstate Corporation (ALL). From a valuation side of things, Aflac looks significantly undervalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $3.66 in 2010 to an estimated $5.96 in 2014. This strong level of demonstrated growth outpaces the market’s implied estimate of only 0.94% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, which is based on one of Benjamin Graham’s formulas, to return an estimate of intrinsic value well above the market price.
The next part of the analysis is up to individual investors, and requires discussion of the company’s prospects. What do you think? What value would you put on Aflac Inc. (AFL)? Where do you see the company going in the future? Is there a company you like better? Leave a comment on our Facebook page or mention @ModernGraham on Twitter to discuss.
Be sure to check out the previous ModernGraham valuations of Aflac Inc. (AFL).
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Disclaimer: The author did not hold a position in Aflac Inc. (AFL) or any of the other companies listed in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours.
Logo taken from the Wikipedia; this article is not affiliated with the company in any manner.