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 Enterprising Investor Near 52 Week Lows. 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 Kansas City Southern (KSU) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Kansas City Southern (KCS) is a transportation holding company with domestic and international rail operations in North America that are strategically focused on the growing north/south freight corridor connecting key commercial and industrial markets in the central United States with industrial cities in Mexico. The KCS coordinated rail network (KCSR, KCSM and Tex-Mex) comprises approximately 6,300 route miles extending from the mid west and southeast portions of the United States south into Mexico and connects with all other Class I railroads, providing shippers with an effective alternative to other railroad routes and giving direct access to Mexico and the southeast and southwest United States through alternate interchange hubs.
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 – PASS
- 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 – 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 = 3/5
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 – FAIL
- 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||$52.16|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$30.58|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||11.24%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$30.89|
Balance Sheet – 6/30/2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Kansas City Southern does not qualify for the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, the lack of a long dividend history, and the high PEmg and PB ratios. The Enterprising Investor’s concern is with the high level of debt relative to the current assets. As a result, value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunites. As for a valuation, the company appears to be fairly valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $1.21 in 2010 to an estimated $3.60 for 2014. This level of demonstrated growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 11.24% 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.
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 Kansas City Southern (KSU)? 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 Kansas City Southern (KSU) 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.