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 – MarchÂ 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 Lam Research Corporation (LRCX)Â fares in theÂ ModernGraham valuation model.
Company ProfileÂ (obtained fromÂ Google Finance):Â Lam Research Corporation (Lam) is a supplier of wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry. The Company designs, manufactures, markets, refurbishes and services semiconductor processing systems that are used in the fabrication of integrated circuits (ICs). Lamâ€™s products are designed to build devices that are used in various electronic products, including cell phones, tablets, computers, storage devices and networking equipment. The Companyâ€™s customer base includes semiconductor memory, foundry and integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) that make various products, such as DRAM, NAND memory and logic devices. Lam offers a portfolio of products that are used in several areas of the semiconductor manufacturing process flow, including thin film deposition, plasma etch and wafer cleaning. These processes, which are repeated numerous times during the wafer fabrication cycle, are utilized to manufacture every type of semiconductor device.
Defensive Investor – must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 2/7
- 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 FAIL
- 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 FAIL
- 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 =Â 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 – 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
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$44.76|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$26.24|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||8.58%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||$10.20|
Balance Sheet -Â December 2014
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per ShareÂ – ModernGraham
Lam Research CorporationÂ is suitableÂ for the Enterprising Investor but notÂ for the Defensive Investor. Â The Defensive Investor is concerned by the lack of earnings growth or stability over the last ten years, the lack of dividends, and 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 overvaluedÂ after growingÂ its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $2.96 in 2011 to only $3.09 for 2015. Â This level of demonstrated growth does not supportÂ the market’s implied estimate of 8.58%Â earnings growth and leads the ModernGrahamÂ valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value belowÂ the price.
Be sure to check out previous ModernGraham valuations of Lam Research Corporation (LRCX)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 Lam Research Corporation (LRCX)? 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 Lam Research Corporation (LRCX)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.