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 Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. is a global professional services firm providing advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and human capital. It is the parent company of a number of risk experts and specialty consultants. It conducts business through two segments: Risk and Insurance Services includes risk management activities, as well as insurance and reinsurance broking and services, and Consulting include retirement, health, talent and investments consulting and services, and specialized management and economic consulting services. In February 2014, the Company’s subsidiary Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC has acquired Barney & Barney, LLC, brokerage firm. In February 2014, Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc announced that Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC acquired The Bond Network. In September 2014, Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc acquires Kocisko Insurance Brokers 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 – FAIL
- 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 = 4/5
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 – PASS
- 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
|MG Opinion||Fairly Valued|
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$34.02|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$19.94|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||7.79%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$5.99|
Balance Sheet – September 2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Marsh & McLennan qualifies for the Enterprising Investor but not for the Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned by the low current ratio, lack of earnings growth or stability over the last ten years, and the poor PEmg and PB ratios. The Enterprising Investor’s only initial concern is the level of debt relative to the current assets. As a result, Enterprising Investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel very comfortable proceeding with further research and comparing the company to other opportunities. As for a valuation, the company appears to be fairly valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $1.32 in 2010 to an estimated $2.35 for 2014. This level of demonstrated growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 7.79% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value within a margin of safety relative to the price.
Be sure to check out previous ModernGraham valuations of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (MMC) for greater perspective!
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 Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (MMC)? 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 Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc. (MMC) 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.