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 – May 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 Vulcan Materials Company (VMC) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Vulcan Materials Company is a producer of construction aggregates primarily crushed stone, sand and gravel. The Company is a producer of aggregates-based construction materials including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. The Company produces these materials from natural deposits such as granite, limestone and trap rock. The Company operates in four segments: Aggregates, Concrete, Asphalt Mix and Cement. The Company has 342 active aggregates facilities. In March 2014, Vulcan Materials Co completed the sale of the Company’s cement and concrete businesses in the Florida area to Cementos Argos.
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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – FAIL
- Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend – PASS
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago – PASS
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$13.35|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$7.83|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||45.68%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||$8.69|
Balance Sheet – March 2015
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Vulcan Materials Company is not suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, the insufficient earnings stability or growth over the last ten years, and the high PEmg ratio. The Enterprising Investor is concerned with the level of debt relative to the net current assets, and the lack of earnings stability over the last five years. As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities. As for a valuation, the company appears to be overvalued despite growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from a loss of $0.03 in 2011 to an estimated $0.92 for 2015. This level of demonstrated earnings growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 45.68% annual earnings growth over the next 7-10 years. As a result, the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, returns an estimate of intrinsic value well 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 Vulcan Materials Company (VMC)? 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.