Oil & Gas Stocks

Marathon Oil Corporation Annual Valuation – 2015 $MRO

MarathonOilBenjamin 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 – March 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 Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Marathon Oil Corporation is an energy company engaged in exploration, production and marketing of liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas production and products manufactured from natural gas and oil sands mining with operations in the United States, Angola, Canada, Equatorial Guinea (E.G), Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Libya, Norway and the United Kingdom. The Company operates in three segments North America Exploration and Production (E&P), International E&P and Oil Sands Mining. Its North America Exploration and Production (E&P) produces and markets liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas in North America. The Company’s International E&P produces and markets liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas outside of North America and produces and markets products manufactured from natural gas, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and methanol in Equatorial Guinea. Its Oil Sands Mining is engaged in mines, extracts and transports bitumen from oil sands deposits in Alberta, Canada.

Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 5/7

  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 - PASS
  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 - PASS
  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 = 2/5

  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 - FAIL

Valuation Summary

Key Data:

Recent Price $26.18
MG Value $10.69
MG Opinion Overvalued
Value Based on 3% Growth $49.05
Value Based on 0% Growth $28.75
Market-Implied Growth Rate -0.38%
NCAV -$15.29
PEmg 7.74
Current Ratio 1.05
PB Ratio 0.85

Balance Sheet – December 2014

Current Assets $4,593,000,000
Current Liabilities $4,379,000,000
Total Debt $5,323,000,000
Total Assets $36,011,000,000
Intangible Assets $459,000,000
Total Liabilities $14,991,000,000
Outstanding Shares 680,000,000

Earnings Per Share

2014 $4.46
2013 $2.47
2012 $2.23
2011 $4.13
2010 $3.61
2009 $2.06
2008 $4.95
2007 $5.69
2006 $7.25
2005 $4.22
2004 $1.86

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham

2014 $3.38
2013 $2.86
2012 $3.17
2011 $3.79
2010 $3.98
2009 $4.39

Dividend History


Marathon Oil Corporation is not suitable for the Enterprising Investor or for the Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned by the the low current ratio and the low earnings growth over the last ten years.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned by the level of debt relative to the current assets and the lack of earnings growth over the last five years.  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 after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) drop from $3.98 in 2010 to only $3.38 for 2014.  This level of demonstrated growth does not even support the market’s implied estimate of a 0.38% annual drop in earnings over the next 7-10 years, leading the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value above 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 Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO)?  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 Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) 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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