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 – July 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 stock analysis showing a specific look at how Westar Energy Inc. (WR) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Westar Energy, Inc. (Westar Energy) is an electric utility in Kansas. The Company provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services to approximately 693,000 customers in Kansas. The Company provides these services in central and northeastern Kansas, including the cities of Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina and Hutchinson. Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KGE), Westar Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary, provides the services in south-central and southeastern Kansas, including the city of Wichita. Both Westar Energy and KGE conduct business using the name Westar Energy. The Company supplies electric energy at retail to customers in Kansas. The Company also supplies electric energy at wholesale to municipalities and electric cooperatives in Kansas. The Company classifies it customer as residential, commercial and industrial. It has around 6,645 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity in service. Its installed wind power generation capacity is around 515 MW.
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 – FAIL
- 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 – FAIL
- Moderate PEmg ratio – PEmg is less than 20 – PASS
- 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
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 – current ratio greater than 1.5 – FAIL
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 – Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 – FAIL
- 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||$32.18|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$18.86|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||3.89%|
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$47.43|
Balance Sheet – March 2015
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham
Westar Energy Inc. does not qualify for either the Defensive Investor and the Enterprising Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, and the insufficient earnings stability over the last ten years. The Enterprising Investor is concerned with the level of debt relative to the current assets. As a result, all value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities or proceed with a speculative attitude. As for a valuation, the company appears to be fairly valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $1.79 in 2011 to an estimated $2.22 for 2015. This level of earnings growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 3.89% annual earnings growth over the next 7-10 years, 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 Westar Energy Inc. (WR)? 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.