Benjamin Graham taught that Intelligent Investors must do a thorough fundamental analysis of investment opportunities to determine their intrinsic value and inherent risk. 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 or by reviewing the 5 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – November 2014. 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 CenterPoint Energy Inc. (CNP) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): CenterPoint Energy, Inc. is a domestic energy delivery company. The Company’s business segments include Electric Transmission and Distribution, Natural Gas Distribution, Competitive Natural Gas Sales and Services, Interstate Pipelines, Field Services and Other Operations. The Company serves metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. The company also owns a 58.3% interest in a midstream partnership it jointly controls with OGE Energy Corp. with operations in natural gas and liquids-rich producing areas of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 5/7
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion – PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 – FAIL
- 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 – FAIL
- 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 at least 4 of the following 5 tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 3/5
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 – FAIL
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 – Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 – FAIL
- 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||$18.37|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$10.77|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||5.27%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$34.72|
Balance Sheet – September 2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
CenterPoint Energy Inc. does not qualify for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned by the low current ratio and the level of earnings growth over the last ten years, while the Enterprising Investor is concerned by the high level of debt relative to the current assets. As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities at this time. From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be overvalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $1.13 in 2010 to only an estimated $1.27 for 2014. This level of demonstrated growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 5.27% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value below the 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 CenterPoint Energy Inc. (CNP)? 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.
Disclaimer: The author did not hold a position in CenterPoint Energy Inc. (CNP) or in any other company mentioned in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours. Logo taken from Wikipedia for the sole purpose of identifying the company; this article is not affiliated with the company in any manner.