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 Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor. 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 SLM Corporation (SLM) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) is a holding company. It operates in three business segments: Consumer Lending, Business Services and FFELP Loans. The fourth segment includes Other. The Company’s primary business is to originate, service and collect loans it makes to students and their families to finance the cost of their education. It uses Private Education Loans to mean education loans to students or their families that are non-federal loans and loans not insured or guaranteed under the previously existing Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). It also provides servicing, loan default aversion and defaulted loan collection services for loans owned by other institutions, including the United States Department of Education (ED), as well as processing capabilities to educational institutions and 529 college-savings plan programs. On May 7, 2013, Higher One Holdings, Inc. acquired Sallie Mae’s Campus Solutions business.
Defensive Investor – must pass all 6 of the following tests: Score = 4/6
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion – 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 – 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 – PASS
- Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 – PASS
Enterprising Investor – must pass all 3 of the following tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 3/3
- 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
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$22.21|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$13.02|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||-1.52%|
Balance Sheet – 3/31/2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
SLM Corporation is suitable for the Enterprising Investor but not the Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor has concerns with the lack of stable earnings over the last ten years and the lack of consistent dividend payments over the last ten years. However, the company passes all of the Enterprising Investor’s requirements and the investor type thus has no significant initial concerns. As a result, Enterprising Investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel comfortable proceeding with further research into the company and comparing it to other opportunities such as through ModernGraham’s valuation of Discover Financial Services (DFS). From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be undervalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $0.28 in 2010 to an estimated $1.53 for 2014. This level of demonstrated growth supports the market’s implied estimate of negative 1.52% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value well 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 SLM Corporation (SLM)? 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 SLM Corporation (SLM) 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 or the company website for the sole purpose of identifying the company; this article is not affiliated with the company in any manner.