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 – January 2015.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 Fastenal Company (FAST)Â fares in theÂ ModernGraham valuation model.
Company ProfileÂ (obtained fromÂ Google Finance):Â Fastenal Company is engaged in wholesale distribution of industrial and construction supplies in North America. Fastenal sells different types of industrial and construction supplies in the product categories, such as threaded fasteners and miscellaneous supplies, tools, metal cutting tool blades and abrasives, fluid transfer components and accessories for hydraulic and pneumatic power, material handling, storage and packaging products, janitorial, chemical and paint products, electrical supplies, welding supplies, safety supplies, metals, alloys and materials, and office supplies. Most of its customers are in the manufacturing and non-residential construction markets. The manufacturing market includes both original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and maintenance and repair operations (MRO). The non-residential construction market includes general, electrical, plumbing, sheet metal, and road contractors.
Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 5/7
- 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 PASS
- 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 = 5/5
- 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 PASS
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 5 years – PASS
- Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend -Â PASS
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago -Â PASS
|MG Opinion||Fairly Valued|
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$21.19|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$12.42|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||10.21%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||$3.84|
Balance Sheet – DecemberÂ 2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per ShareÂ – ModernGraham
Fastenal CompanyÂ is suitableÂ for the Enterprising Investor but notÂ for the Defensive Investor. Â The Defensive Investor is concerned by the high PEmg and PB ratios, while the Enterprising Investor has no initial concerns. Â As a result, Enterprising InvestorsÂ following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel very comfortable proceeding with further research and comparing the company to other opportunities. Â From a valuation side of things,Â the company appears to be fairlyÂ valuedÂ after growingÂ its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $0.80 in 2010 to $1.46 for 2014. Â This level of demonstrated growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 10.21%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 previous ModernGraham valuations of Fastenal Company (FAST)Â for greater 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 Fastenal Company (FAST)? 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 Fastenal Company (FAST)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.