Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Analysis – August 2015 Update $CLF

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 10 Most Undervalued Companies for the Defensive Investor – August 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 Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is a mining and natural resources company. The Company is a supplier of iron ore pellets to the North American steel industry from its mines and pellet plants located in Michigan and Minnesota. The Company also produces low-volatile metallurgical coal in the United States from its mines located in Alabama and West Virginia. In addition, it operates an iron ore mining complex in Western Australia and owns two non-operating iron ore mines in Eastern Canada. The Company operates in segments: U.S. Iron Ore, Asia Pacific Iron Ore and North American Coal. In the United States, it operates five iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota and two metallurgical coal operations located in Alabama and West Virginia. Its Asia Pacific operations consist of its Koolyanobbing iron ore mining complex in Western Australia.


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Premium members can view a full ModernGraham valuation of the company and have access to download a PDF version of the valuation for easy reference. Here is a free sample valuation pdf, and here is a post detailing what can be found within each individual company’s valuation.


Downloadable PDF version of this valuation:

ModernGraham Valuation of CLF – August 2015

Stage 1: Is this company suitable for the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor?

What kind of Intelligent Investor are you?

Defensive Investor; must pass 6 out of the following 7 tests.
1. Adequate Size of the Enterprise Market Cap > $2Bil Fail
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Current Ratio > 2 Fail
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 10 years prior Fail
4. Dividend Record Dividend Payments for 10 years prior Pass
5. Earnings Growth Increase of 33% in EPS in past 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end Fail
6. Moderate PEmg Ratio PEmg < 20 Fail
7. Moderate Price to Assets PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50 Fail
Enterprising Investor; must pass 4 out of the following 5 tests, or be suitable for the Defensive Investor.
1. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Current Ratio > 1.5 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Debt to NCA < 1.1 Fail
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 5 years prior Fail
4. Dividend Record Currently Pays Dividend Pass
5. Earnings Growth EPSmg greater than 5 years ago Fail

Stage 2: Determination of Intrinsic Value

EPSmg -14.13
MG Growth Estimate -4.25%
MG Value $0.00
Opinion Overvalued
MG Value based on 3% Growth -$204.82
MG Value based on 0% Growth -$120.07
Market Implied Growth Rate -4.36%
Current Price $3.16
% of Intrinsic Value N/A

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. does not qualify for either the Enterprising Investor or the more conservative Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned with the small size, low current ratio, insufficient earnings stability or growth over the last ten years, and the high PEmg and PB ratios.  The Enterprising Investor is concerned with the level of debt relative to the net current assets as well as the lack of earnings stability or growth over the last five years.  As a result, all value investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should explore other opportunities or proceed with a cautious speculative attitude.

As for a valuation, the company appears to be overvalued after seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) decline from $6.96 in 2011 to an estimated loss of $14.13 for 2015.  This level of earnings growth does not support a positive valuation, leading the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, to return an estimate of intrinsic value below 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 Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF)?  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.

Stage 3: Information for Further Research

CLF charts August 2015

Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) -$20.56
PEmg -0.22
Current Ratio 1.82
PB Ratio -0.25
Dividend Yield 14.33%
Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth 0



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Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures

Total Current Assets $1,382,200,000
Total Current Liabilities $758,400,000
Long-Term Debt $2,887,400,000
Total Assets $2,609,400,000
Intangible Assets $0
Total Liabilities $4,533,200,000
Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average) 153,232,000

Earnings Per Share History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate -$5.55
Dec14 -$47.52
Dec13 $2.37
Dec12 -$6.32
Dec11 $11.48
Dec10 $7.49
Dec09 $1.63
Dec08 $4.76
Dec07 $2.57
Dec06 $2.60
Dec05 $2.50
Dec04 $2.95
Dec03 -$0.40
Dec02 -$2.33
Dec01 -$0.29
Dec00 $0.22
Dec99 $0.05
Dec98 $0.63
Dec97 $0.60
Dec96 $0.65
Dec95 $0.60

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate -$14.13
Dec14 -$14.44
Dec13 $2.51
Dec12 $2.99
Dec11 $6.96
Dec10 $4.40
Dec09 $2.84
Dec08 $3.32
Dec07 $2.42
Dec06 $1.91
Dec05 $1.21
Dec04 $0.39
Dec03 -$0.78
Dec02 -$0.76
Dec01 $0.10
Dec00 $0.34
Dec99 $0.43

Recommended Reading:

Other ModernGraham posts about the company

18 Companies to Research This Week – 8/30/2014
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Annual Valuation – 2014 $CLF

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Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Annual Valuation – 2014 $CLF


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.  This article is not investment advice; any reader should speak to a registered investment adviser prior to making any investment decisions.  ModernGraham is not affiliated with the company in any manner.  Please read our more detailed disclaimer.

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