Benjamin Graham taught that Intelligent Investors must do a thorough fundamental analysis of investment opportunities to determine their intrinsic value and inherent risk. Â This isÂ best done by utilizing a systematic approach to analysis that will provide investors with a sense of how a specific company compares to another companyÂ or by reviewing theÂ 5 Highest Dividend Yields Among Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – September 2014.Â By using theÂ ModernGraham methodÂ one can review a company’s historical accomplishments and determine an intrinsic value that can be compared across industries. Â What follows is a specific look at how Alliance Data Systems (ADS)Â fares in theÂ ModernGraham valuation model.
Company ProfileÂ (obtained fromÂ Google Finance):Â Alliance Data Systems Corporation is a provider of transaction-based, data-driven marketing and loyalty solutions serving consumer-based businesses in a variety of industries. The Company offers a portfolio of integrated outsourced marketing solutions, including customer loyalty programs, database marketing services, marketing strategy consulting, analytics and creative services, direct marketing services and private label and co-brand retail credit card programs. It focuses on facilitating and managing interactions between its clients and their customers through all consumer marketing channels, including in-store, on-line, catalog, mail, telephone and email, and emerging channels, such as mobile and social media. Its products and services operate under three segments: LoyaltyOne, Epsilon and Private Label Services and Credit.
Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 4/7
- Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion -Â PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 -Â PASS
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years -Â PASS
- Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years -Â 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 -Â PASS
- Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 -Â FAIL
- Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 -Â 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 -Â PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 – Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 -Â FAIL
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 5 years – PASS
- Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend -Â FAIL
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago -Â PASS
|MG Opinion||Fairly Valued|
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$121.64|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$71.30|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||10.85%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$54.12|
Balance Sheet – 6/30/2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per ShareÂ – ModernGraham
Alliance Data SystemsÂ does not pay a dividend.
Alliance Data Systems does not qualify for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. Â The Defensive Investor is concerned with the lack of dividend payments and the high PEmg and PB ratios while the Enterprising Investor is concerned with the level of debt relative to the net current assets and the lack of dividends. Â As a result, value investorsÂ following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities at this time. Â As for a valuation,Â the company appears to be fairlyÂ valued after growingÂ its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $3.07 in 2010 to an estimated $8.39 for 2014. Â This level of demonstrated growth supportsÂ the market’s implied estimate of 10.85%Â earnings growth and leads the ModernGrahamÂ valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value within a margin of safety relative toÂ the price.
Be sure to check out theÂ previousÂ ModernGraham valuations of Alliance Data Systems (ADS)Â for more perspective!
The next part of the analysis is up to individual investors, and requires discussion of the company’s prospects. Â What do you think? Â What value would you put on Alliance Data Systems (ADS)? Â Where do you see the company going in the future? Â Is there a company you like better? Â Leave aÂ comment on ourÂ Facebook pageÂ or mentionÂ @ModernGrahamÂ on Twitter to discuss.
Disclaimer: Â The author did not hold a position in Alliance Data Systems (ADS)Â orÂ 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. Â Logo taken from Wikipedia for the sole purpose of identifying the company; this article is not affiliated with the company in any manner.