Cliffs Natural Resources Inc Valuation – January 2017 $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 Stocks for Using A Benjamin Graham Value Investing Strategy – January 2017.  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’s segments include U.S. Iron Ore and Asia Pacific Iron Ore. The Company is a producer of iron ore pellets, primarily selling production from U.S. Iron Ore to integrated steel companies in the United States and Canada. The Company manages approximately five iron ore mines located in Michigan and Minnesota. In Michigan, it is operating over two iron ore mines, Empire mine and Tilden mine. In Minnesota, it is operating approximately one iron ore mine, Hibbing mine. The other two iron ore operations in Minnesota, United Taconite mine and Northshore mine. Its Asia Pacific Iron Ore operations are located in Western Australia and consist of its Koolyanobbing operation. The Company operates an 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. Recent valuations of the components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average are available for free members, including this one of Microsoft Corporation.  In addition, 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 – January 2017

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 $2,477,418,483 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Current Ratio > 2 2.16 Pass
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 10 years prior Fail
4. Dividend Record Dividend Payments for 10 years prior Fail
5. Earnings Growth Increase of 33% in EPS in past 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end -681.14% Fail
6. Moderate PEmg Ratio PEmg < 20 -0.89 Fail
7. Moderate Price to Assets PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50 -1.29 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 2.16 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Debt to NCA < 1.1 5.84 Fail
3. Earnings Stability Positive EPS for 5 years prior Fail
4. Dividend Record Currently Pays Dividend Fail
5. Earnings Growth EPSmg greater than 5 years ago Fail

Stage 2: Determination of Intrinsic Value

EPSmg -$10.78
MG Growth Estimate -4.25%
MG Value $0.00
Opinion Overvalued
MG Grade D
MG Value based on 3% Growth -$156.37
MG Value based on 0% Growth -$91.66
Market Implied Growth Rate -4.70%
Current Price $9.65
% of Intrinsic Value N/A

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc does not satisfy the requirements of either the Enterprising Investor or the more conservative Defensive Investor. The Defensive Investor is concerned with the insufficient earnings stability or growth over the last ten years, the poor dividend history, and the high PEmg and PB ratios. The Enterprising Investor has concerns regarding the level of debt relative to the net current assets, and the lack of earnings stability or growth over the last five years, and the lack of dividends. 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 seeing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) decline from $2.99 in 2012 to an estimated $-10.78 for 2016. This level of negative earnings does not support a positive valuation.As a result, the ModernGraham valuation model, based on the Benjamin Graham value investing formula, returns an estimate of intrinsic value below the price.

At the time of valuation, further research into Cliffs Natural Resources Inc revealed the company was trading above its Graham Number of $0. The company does not pay a dividend. Its PEmg (price over earnings per share – ModernGraham) was -0.89, which was below the industry average of 35.02, which by some methods of valuation makes it one of the most undervalued stocks in its industry. Finally, the company was trading above its Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) of $-12.69.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc 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) -$12.69
Graham Number $0.00
PEmg -0.89
Current Ratio 2.16
PB Ratio -1.29
Current Dividend $0.00
Dividend Yield 0.00%
Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth 0


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Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures

Balance Sheet Information 9/1/2016
Total Current Assets $699,600,000
Total Current Liabilities $323,500,000
Long-Term Debt $2,195,900,000
Total Assets $1,772,900,000
Intangible Assets $0
Total Liabilities $3,317,200,000
Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average) 206,279,000

Earnings Per Share History

EPS History
Next Fiscal Year Estimate $0.58
Dec2015 -$5.13
Dec2014 -$47.52
Dec2013 $2.37
Dec2012 -$6.32
Dec2011 $11.48
Dec2010 $7.49
Dec2009 $1.63
Dec2008 $4.76
Dec2007 $2.57
Dec2006 $2.60
Dec2005 $2.50
Dec2004 $2.95
Dec2003 -$0.40
Dec2002 -$2.33
Dec2001 -$0.29
Dec2000 $0.22
Dec1999 $0.05
Dec1998 $0.63
Dec1997 $0.60
Dec1996 $0.65

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History

EPSmg History
Next Fiscal Year Estimate -$10.78
Dec2015 -$13.99
Dec2014 -$14.44
Dec2013 $2.51
Dec2012 $2.99
Dec2011 $6.96
Dec2010 $4.40
Dec2009 $2.84
Dec2008 $3.32
Dec2007 $2.42
Dec2006 $1.91
Dec2005 $1.21
Dec2004 $0.39
Dec2003 -$0.78
Dec2002 -$0.76
Dec2001 $0.10
Dec2000 $0.34

Recommended Reading:

Other ModernGraham posts about the company

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Analysis – August 2015 Update $CLF
18 Companies to Research This Week – 8/30/2014
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Annual Valuation – 2014 $CLF

Other ModernGraham posts about related companies

Nucor Corporation Valuation – December 2016 $NUE
Nucor Corp Valuation – August 2016 $NUE
United States Steel Corp Valuation – July 2016 $X
Nucor Corp Valuation – February 2016 Update $NUE
Allegheny Technologies Inc. Valuation – November 2015 Update $ATI
Nucor Corporation Analysis – September 2015 Update $NUE
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Analysis – August 2015 Update $CLF
Nucor Corporation Analysis – June 2015 Update $NUE
Nucor Corporation Quarterly Valuation – March 2015 $NUE
United States Steel Corporation Annual Valuation – 2015 $X


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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