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 Enterprising 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 AutoNation Inc. (AN) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): AutoNation, Inc. (AutoNation) is an automotive retailer in the United States. As of December 31, 2011, the Company had three operating segments: Domestic, Import, and Premium Luxury. As of December 31, 2011, it owned and operated 258 new vehicle franchises from 215 stores located in the United States, predominantly in metropolitan markets in the Sunbelt region. Its stores sell 32 different brands of new vehicles. The core brands of vehicles that it sells, representing approximately 90% of the new vehicles that it sold during the year ended December 31, 2011, was manufactured by Ford, Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Chrysler. The Company offers a diversified range of automotive products and services, which include new vehicles, used vehicles, parts and automotive repair and maintenance services, and automotive finance and insurance products. In January 2014, Autobytel Inc. acquired AutoUSA from AutoNation, Inc.
Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 2/7
- 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 – FAIL
- Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years – FAIL
- 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 – FAIL
- Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 – FAIL
Enterprising Investor – must pass at least 4 of the following 5 tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 2/5
- 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 – FAIL
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago – PASS
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$40.23|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$23.58|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||6.23%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$18.35|
Balance Sheet – September 2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
AutoNation does not pay a dividend.
AutoNation Inc. is not suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned by the low current ratio, lack of earnings stability over the last ten years, lack of dividends and the high PEmg and PB ratios. The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the level of debt relative to the current assets along with the lack of dividends. 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 undervalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from a loss of $0.35 in 2010 to an estimated gain of $2.77 for 2014. This level of demonstrated growth is greater than the market’s implied estimate of 6.23% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value above 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 AutoNation Inc. (AN)? 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 AutoNation Inc. (AN) 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.