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 – April 2015. 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 Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Applied Materials, Inc. (Applied) provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the global semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic (PV) and related industries. Applied’s customers include manufacturers of semiconductor wafers and chips, flat panel liquid crystal displays (LSDs), PV cells and modules, and other electronic devices. Applied operates in four segments: Silicon Systems Group, Applied Global Services, Display, and Energy and Environmental Solutions. Applied’s Silicon Systems Group segment develops, manufactures and sells manufacturing equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips. Applied’s products for manufacturing LCDs, organic light-emitting diode, and display technologies for televisions, personal computers, tablets and smartphones are reported under its Display segment. The Energy and Environmental Solutions segment includes systems for manufacturing wafer-based crystalline silicon cells and modules.
Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 3/7
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion – PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 -PASS
- 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 – 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 – 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 – PASS
- 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 – FAIL
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$11.11|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$6.51|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||8.71%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||$1.56|
Balance Sheet – March 2015
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Applied Materials Inc. is suitable for the Enterprising Investor but not for the Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned by the insufficient earnings stability or growth over the last ten years, and the high PEmg and PB ratios, while the Enterprising Investor is only concerned by the lack of growth over the last five years. 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. From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) drop from $0.80 in 2011 to an estimated $0.77 for 2015. This level of demonstrated growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 8.71% annual earnings growth over the next 7-10 years and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value falling 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 Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT)? 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 any 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.