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 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – December 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 AutoZone Inc. (AZO)Â fares in theÂ ModernGraham valuation model.
Company ProfileÂ (obtained fromÂ Google Finance):Â AutoZone, Inc. is a retailer and a distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories in the United States. The Company operates in two segments: Auto Parts Stores and Other. The Auto Parts Stores segment is a retailer and distributor of automotive parts and accessories through the Companyâ€™s 5,201 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil. Each store carries a product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories and non-automotive products. The Other category reflects business activities of three operating segments, including include ALLDATA, which produces, sells and maintains diagnostic and repair information software used in the automotive repair industry; E-commerce, which includes direct sales to customers through www.autozone.com, and AutoAnything, which includes direct sales to customers through www.autoanything.com.
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 -Â PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 -Â FAIL
- 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 = 2/5
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 -Â FAIL
- 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
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$434.59|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$254.76|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||6.04%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$172.93|
Balance Sheet – NovemberÂ 2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per ShareÂ – ModernGraham
AutoZone does not pay a dividend.
AutoZoneÂ is not suitableÂ for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. Â The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, lack of dividend payments, and the poorÂ PEmg and PB ratios. Â The Enterprising Investor is concerned with the level of debt relative to the current assets along with the lack of dividends. Â As a result, value investorsÂ following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should exploreÂ other opportunities. Â As for a valuation,Â the company appears to be undervaluedÂ after growingÂ its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $14.74 in 2011 to an estimated $29.97 for 2015. Â This level of demonstrated growth outpacesÂ the market’s implied estimate of 6.04%Â earnings growth and leads the ModernGrahamÂ valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value aboveÂ the price.
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 AutoZone Inc. (AZO)? 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 aÂ position in AutoZone Inc. (AZO)Â 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.