Benjamin 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 – May 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 Fastenal Company (FAST) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Fastenal Company sells industrial and construction supplies to end-users (business-to-business), and also has some walk-in retail business. The Company’s product offerings include fasteners and other industrial and construction supplies, many of which are sold under the Fastenal product name. The Company’s product line, which it refers to as the fastener product line, consists of two categories: threaded fasteners, such as bolts, nuts, screws, studs and related washers, and miscellaneous supplies and hardware, such as various pins and machinery keys, concrete anchors, metal framing systems, wire rope, strut, rivets and related accessories. The Company’s product line includes fasteners, cutting tools, tools, hydraulics and pneumatics, material handling, janitorial supplies, electrical supplies, welding supplies, safety supplies, metals, direct ship and office supplies. It operates approximately 14 distribution centers in North America.
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 – PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition – current ratio greater than 2 – PASS
- Earnings Stability – positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years – PASS
- Dividend Record – has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years – 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 – PASS
- Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 – FAIL
- Moderate Price to Assets – PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 – 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 – 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 – PASS
- Earnings growth – EPSmg greater than 5 years ago – PASS
|MG Opinion||Fairly Valued|
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$23.17|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$13.58|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||9.02%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||$3.61|
Balance Sheet – March 2015
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Fastenal Company is suitable for the Enterprising Investor but not for the Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned by the high PEmg and PB ratios, while the Enterprising Investor has no initial concerns. As a result, Enterprising Investors 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. From a valuation side of things, the company appears to be fairly valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $0.94 in 2011 to an estimated $1.60 for 2015. This level of demonstrated growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 9.02% earnings growth and leads the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value falling within a margin of safety relative to 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 Fastenal Company (FAST)? 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 any 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.