W.W. Grainger Inc. Analysis – October 2015 Update $GWW

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 – September 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 W.W. Grainger Inc. (GWW) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): W.W. Grainger, Inc. is a distributor of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies and other related products and services. The Company offers its products and services to businesses and institutions in the United States and Canada, with presence also in Europe, Asia and Latin America. It operates in two segments: the United States and Canada. The United States business offers a selection of maintenance, repair and operating supplies and other related products and services. Acklands – Grainger is a distributor of industrial and safety supplies that distributes tools, fasteners, safety supplies, instruments, welding and shop equipment, among others. Other businesses include Zoro, the single channel online business in the United States, and operations in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The Company provides customers with a range of options for finding and purchasing products, utilizing sales representatives, contact centers, direct marketing materials, catalogs and e-commerce.


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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 GWW – October 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 $14,690,678,514 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Current Ratio > 2 3.37 Pass
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 10 years prior Pass
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 126.73% Pass
6. Moderate PEmg Ratio PEmg < 20 20.10 Fail
7. Moderate Price to Assets PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50 4.96 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 3.37 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Debt to NCA < 1.1 0.54 Pass
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 5 years prior Pass
4. Dividend Record Currently Pays Dividend Pass
5. Earnings Growth EPSmg greater than 5 years ago Pass

Stage 2: Determination of Intrinsic Value

GWW value Chart October 2015

EPSmg $11.08
MG Growth Estimate 8.33%
MG Value $278.77
Opinion Fairly Valued
MG Value based on 3% Growth $160.61
MG Value based on 0% Growth $94.15
Market Implied Growth Rate 5.80%
Current Price $222.67
% of Intrinsic Value 79.88%

W.W. Grainger Inc. qualifies for the Enterprising Investor but not the more conservative Defensive Investor.  The Defensive Investor is concerned with the high PEmg and PB ratios.  The Enterprising Investor has no initial concerns.  As a result, all Enterprising Investors following the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham’s methods should feel comfortable proceeding with further research into the company.

As for a valuation, the company appears to be fairly valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $7.12 in 2011 to an estimated $11.08 for 2015.  This level of demonstrated earnings growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 5.8% annual earnings growth over the next 7-10 years.  As a result, the ModernGraham valuation model, based on Benjamin Graham’s formula, returns an estimate of intrinsic value 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 W.W. Grainger Inc. (GWW)?  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

GWW Charts October 2015

Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) $10.66
Graham Number $110.11
PEmg 20.10
Current Ratio 3.37
PB Ratio 4.96
Dividend Yield 1.98%
Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth 20



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Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures

Total Current Assets $3,523,746,000
Total Current Liabilities $1,047,102,000
Long-Term Debt $1,348,642,000
Total Assets $5,826,909,000
Intangible Assets $961,252,000
Total Liabilities $2,806,394,000
Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average) 67,317,000

Earnings Per Share History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate $11.77
Dec14 $11.45
Dec13 $11.13
Dec12 $9.52
Dec11 $9.07
Dec10 $6.93
Dec09 $5.62
Dec08 $5.97
Dec07 $4.94
Dec06 $4.24
Dec05 $3.78
Dec04 $3.13
Dec03 $2.46
Dec02 $2.24
Dec01 $1.84
Dec00 $2.05
Dec99 $1.92
Dec98 $2.44
Dec97 $2.27
Dec96 $2.02
Dec95 $1.82

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History

Next Fiscal Year Estimate $11.08
Dec14 $10.36
Dec13 $9.36
Dec12 $8.13
Dec11 $7.12
Dec10 $5.94
Dec09 $5.27
Dec08 $4.87
Dec07 $4.11
Dec06 $3.52
Dec05 $3.01
Dec04 $2.53
Dec03 $2.19
Dec02 $2.07
Dec01 $2.02
Dec00 $2.12
Dec99 $2.14

Recommended Reading:

Other ModernGraham posts about the company

The Best Companies of the Machinery Industry – August 2015
The 9 Best Stocks For Value Investors This Week – 7/18/15
W.W. Grainger Inc. Analysis – July 2015 Update $GWW
5 Undervalued Companies for the Enterprising Investor Near 52 Week Lows – April 2015
27 Companies in the Spotlight This Week – 4/4/15

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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.  See my current holdings here.  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 be sure to review our detailed disclaimer.

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