Noble Energy Inc. Annual Valuation – 2015 $NBL

NobleEnergyLogoBenjamin 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 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – February 2015.  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 Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Noble Energy, Inc. (Noble Energy) is an independent energy company engaged in worldwide oil and gas exploration and production. Noble Energy has operations in five core areas: the DJ Basin (onshore United States), the Marcellus Shale (onshore United States), the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (offshore United States), offshore West Africa and offshore Eastern Mediterranean. The areas provide most of its crude oil and natural gas production; visible growth from development projects, and numerous exploration opportunities. In August 2012, it sold the Dumbarton and Lochranza properties in the North Sea to Maersk Oil North Sea Limited. In September 2012, it sold certain oil and natural gas properties in the Permian Basin to Sheridan Holding Company II, LLC. In September 2012, Unit Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiary, Unit Petroleum Company, acquired certain oil and natural gas assets from the Company.

Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 3/7

  1. Adequate Size of Enterprise – market capitalization of at least $2 billion - PASS
  2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 - FAIL
  3. Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years - FAIL
  4. Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years - PASS
  5. 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 - FAIL
  6. Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 - FAIL
  7. Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 - PASS

Enterprising Investor – must pass at least 4 of the following 5 tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 3/5

  1. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 - FAIL
  2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 – Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 - FAIL
  3. Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 5 years - PASS
  4. Dividend Record – currently pays a dividend - PASS
  5. Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago – PASS

Valuation Summary

Key Data:

Recent Price $50.79
MG Value $38.07
MG Opinion Overvalued
Value Based on 3% Growth $33.57
Value Based on 0% Growth $19.68
Market Implied Growth Rate 6.72%
Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) -$24.46
PEmg 21.94
Current Ratio 1.02
PB Ratio 1.88

Balance Sheet – September 2014

Current Assets $2,270,000,000
Current Liabilities $2,232,000,000
Total Debt $5,498,000,000
Total Assets $21,186,000,000
Intangible Assets $620,000,000
Total Liabilities $11,248,000,000
Outstanding Shares 367,000,000

Earnings Per Share

2014 (estimate) $2.16
2013 $2.69
2012 $2.86
2011 $1.27
2010 $2.05
2009 -$0.38
2008 $3.79
2007 $2.73
2006 $1.90
2005 $2.06
2004 $1.39

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham

2014 (estimate) $2.32
2013 $2.16
2012 $1.90
2011 $1.58
2010 $1.83
2009 $1.82

Dividend History


Noble Energy Inc. is not suitable for the Enterprising Investor or for the Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned by the low current ratio, insufficient earnings growth or stability over the last ten years, as well as the high PEmg PB ratio.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the 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 opportunities at this time.  From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be overvalued despite growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $1.83 in 2010 to an estimated $2.32 for 2014.  This level of demonstrated growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 6.72% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value below the price.

Be sure to check out previous ModernGraham valuations of Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) for greater perspective!

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 Noble Energy Inc. (NBL)?  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 Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) 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.

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