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 10 Companies Benjamin Graham Would Invest In Today -Â JuneÂ 2016.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 stock analysis showing a specific look at how Southern Company (SO)Â fares in theÂ ModernGraham valuation model.
Company ProfileÂ (obtained fromÂ Google Finance): The Southern Company (Southern Company) is a holding company. The Company owns all of the stock of the traditional operating companies and Southern Power Company (Southern Power), and owns other direct and indirect subsidiaries. Southern Company’s segments include the sale of electricity by four traditional operating companies, Southern Power and All Other. The traditional operating companies, including Alabama Power Company (Alabama Power), Georgia Power Company (Georgia Power), Gulf Power Company (Gulf Power) and Mississippi Power Company (Mississippi Power), are vertically integrated utilities providing electric service in over four Southeastern states. The Company has interests in the Southern Communications Services, Inc., Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Southern Company Holdings, Inc. and other direct and indirect subsidiaries. Its subsidiary also includes PowerSecure International, Inc.
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 aÂ 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:
Stage 1: Is this company suitable for the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor?
|Defensive Investor; must pass 6 out of the following 7 tests.|
|1. Adequate Size of the Enterprise||Market Cap > $2Bil||$49,117,164,400||Pass|
|2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition||Current Ratio > 2||0.70||Fail|
|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||14.11%||Fail|
|6. Moderate PEmg Ratio||PEmg < 20||21.13||Fail|
|7. Moderate Price to Assets||PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50||2.31||Pass|
|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||0.70||Fail|
|2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition||Debt to NCA < 1.1||-10.89||Fail|
|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
|MG Growth Estimate||0.02%|
|MG Value based on 3% Growth||$35.82|
|MG Value based on 0% Growth||$21.00|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||6.31%|
|% of Intrinsic Value||247.15%|
Southern Co does not satisfy the requirements of either the Enterprising Investor or the more conservative Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the low current ratio, insufficient earnings growth over the last ten years, and the high PEmg ratio. The Enterprising Investor has concerns regarding the level of debt relative to the current assets. As a result, all value investors following the ModernGraham approach should explore other opportunities at this time or proceed cautiously with a speculative attitude.
As for a valuation, the company appears to be Overvalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $2.47 in 2012 to an estimated $2.47 for 2016. This level of demonstrated earnings growth does not support the market’s implied estimate of 6.31% 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 below the price.
Southern Co scores quite poorly in the ModernGraham grading system, with an overall grade of D+.
Stage 3: Information for Further Research
|Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)||-$56.92|
|Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth||15|
|ModernGraham tagged articles||Morningstar|
|Google Finance||MSN Money|
|Yahoo Finance||Seeking Alpha|
Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures
|Balance Sheet Information||3/1/2016|
|Total Current Assets||$5,461,000,000|
|Total Current Liabilities||$7,856,000,000|
|Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average)||922,000,000|
Earnings Per Share History
|Next Fiscal Year Estimate||$2.75|
Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History
|Next Fiscal Year Estimate||$2.47|
Other ModernGraham posts about the company
|58 Companies in the Spotlight This Week â€“ 1/31/15|
|Southern Company Annual Valuation â€“ 2015 $SO|
|14 Companies in the Spotlight This Week â€“ 1/25/14|
|The Southern Company (SO) Annual Valuation|
Other ModernGraham posts about related companies
The author did not hold aÂ position in any company mentioned in this articleÂ at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours. Â See my current holdings here. Â This article is not investment advice; any reader should speak to aÂ registeredÂ investment adviser prior to making any investment decisions. Â ModernGraham is not affiliated with the company in any manner. Â Please be sure to review our detailed disclaimer.