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 10 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – August 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 stock analysis showing a specific look at how Staples Inc. (SPLS) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Staples, Inc. is a provider of products and services that serve the needs of business customers and consumers. The Company offers a selection of products, such as Websites and mobile platforms, retail and online shopping and a range of copy and print and technology services. It operates in three business segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial and International Operations. The North American Stores & Online segment includes its retail stores and Staples.com businesses in the United States and Canada. The North American Commercial segment consists of the United States and Canadian businesses that sell and deliver products and services directly to businesses, including Staples Advantage and Quill.com. The International Operations segment consists of businesses in around 23 countries in Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. It serves businesses in North America, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia. Its delivery business offers online order placing.
Premium members can view a full ModernGraham valuation of the company and have access to download a PDF version of the valuation for easy reference. Here is a free sample valuation pdf, and here is a post detailing what can be found within each individual company’s valuation.
Downloadable PDF version of this valuation:
Stage 1: Is this company suitable for the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor?
|Defensive Investor; must pass 6 out of the following 7 tests.|
|1. Adequate Size of the Enterprise||Market Cap > $2Bil||$7,986,651,802||Pass|
|2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition||Current Ratio > 2||1.58||Fail|
|3. Earnings Stability||Positive EPS for 10 years prior||Fail|
|4. Dividend Record||Dividend Payments for 10 years prior||Pass|
|5. Earnings Growth||Increase of 33% in EPS in past 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end||-53.00%||Fail|
|6. Moderate PEmg Ratio||PEmg < 20||24.21||Fail|
|7. Moderate Price to Assets||PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50||1.54||Pass|
|Enterprising Investor; must pass 4 out of the following 5 tests, or be suitable for the Defensive Investor.|
|1. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition||Current Ratio > 1.5||1.58||Pass|
|2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition||Debt to NCA < 1.1||0.52||Pass|
|3. Earnings Stability||Positive EPS for 5 years prior||Fail|
|4. Dividend Record||Currently Pays Dividend||Pass|
|5. Earnings Growth||EPSmg greater than 5 years ago||Fail|
Stage 2: Determination of Intrinsic Value
|MG Growth Estimate||-4.25%|
|MG Value based on 3% Growth||$7.43|
|MG Value based on 0% Growth||$4.36|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||7.85%|
|% of Intrinsic Value||3052.95%|
Staples Inc. does not qualify for either the Enterprising Investor or the more conservative Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, insufficient earnings growth or stability over the last ten years, and the high PEmg ratio. The Enterprising Investor is concerned with the lack of earnings growth or stability over the last five years. As a result, all value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities or proceed with a cautious speculative attitude.
As for a valuation, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) decline from $1.24 in 2012 to an estimated $0.51 for 2015. This level of demonstrated earnings growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 7.85% 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 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 Staples Inc. (SPLS)? 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.
Stage 3: Information for Further Research
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||$0.41|
|Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth||0|
|ModernGraham tagged articles||Morningstar|
|Google Finance||MSN Money|
|Yahoo Finance||Seeking Alpha|
Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures
|Total Current Assets||$5,374,000,000|
|Total Current Liabilities||$3,412,000,000|
|Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average)||647,000,000|
Earnings Per Share History
|Next Fiscal Year Estimate||$0.65|
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History
|Next Fiscal Year Estimate||$0.51|
Other ModernGraham posts about the company
|17 Companies in the Spotlight This Week – 9/20/2014|
|Staples Inc. Annual Stock Valuation – 2014 $SPLS|
Other ModernGraham posts about related companies
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. See my current holdings here. This article is not investment advice; any reader should speak to a registered investment adviser prior to making any investment decisions. ModernGraham is not affiliated with the company in any manner. Please be sure to read our full disclaimer.