TransAlta Corporation – Initial Coverage $TSE:TA

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 – March 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 TransAlta Corp (TSE:TA) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

Company Profile (obtained from Google Finance): TransAlta Corporation (TransAlta) is a non-regulated electricity generation and energy marketing company with an aggregate net ownership interest of approximately 8,730 megawatts of generating capacity. The Company is engaged in the production and sale of electric energy. TransAlta is organized into seven segments: Canadian Coal, U.S. Coal, Gas, Wind and Solar, Hydro, Energy Marketing and Corporate. The Canadian Coal, U.S. Coal, Gas, Wind and Solar, and Hydro segments are responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining its electrical generation. The Canadian Coal segment is also responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Company’s related mining operations in Canada. The Energy Marketing segment is responsible for marketing its production through short-term and long-term contracts. The Company operates facilities having approximately 10,208 megawatts of aggregate generating capacity.

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Downloadable PDF version of this valuation:

ModernGraham Valuation of TSE-TA – March 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 $2,171,312,285 Pass
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Current Ratio > 2 1.28 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 -85.19% Fail
6. Moderate PEmg Ratio PEmg < 20 37.86 Fail
7. Moderate Price to Assets PB Ratio < 2.5 OR PB*PEmg < 50 0.61 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 1.28 Fail
2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition Debt to NCA < 1.1 0.00 Pass
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 Pass

Stage 2: Determination of Intrinsic Value

EPSmg $0.20
MG Growth Estimate 15.00%
MG Value $7.55
Opinion Fairly Valued
MG Grade D+
MG Value based on 3% Growth $2.84
MG Value based on 0% Growth $1.67
Market Implied Growth Rate 14.68%
Current Price $7.42
% of Intrinsic Value 98.33%

TransAlta Corporation 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 stability or growth over the last ten years, and the high PEmg ratio. The Enterprising Investor has concerns regarding the low current ratio, and the lack of earnings stability over the last five years. 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 Fairly Valued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $-0.31 in 2013 to an estimated $0.2 for 2017. This level of demonstrated earnings growth supports the market’s implied estimate of 14.68% annual earnings growth over the next 7-10 years. As a result, the ModernGraham valuation model, based on the Benjamin Graham value investing formula, returns an estimate of intrinsic value within a margin of safety relative to the price.

At the time of valuation, further research into TransAlta Corporation revealed the company was trading above its Graham Number of $5.67. The company pays a dividend of $0.16 per share, for a yield of 2.2%, putting it among the best dividend paying stocks today. Its PEmg (price over earnings per share – ModernGraham) was 37.86, which was above the industry average of 23.36. Finally, the company was trading above its Net Current Asset Value (NCAV) of $-20.59.

TransAlta Corporation 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) -$20.59
Graham Number $5.67
PEmg 37.86
Current Ratio 1.28
PB Ratio 0.61
Current Dividend $0.16
Dividend Yield 2.16%
Number of Consecutive Years of Dividend Growth 0


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Most Recent Balance Sheet Figures

Balance Sheet Information 12/1/2016
Total Current Assets $1,554,000,000
Total Current Liabilities $1,217,000,000
Long-Term Debt $0
Total Assets $10,996,000,000
Intangible Assets $1,212,000,000
Total Liabilities $7,485,000,000
Shares Outstanding (Diluted Average) 288,000,000

Earnings Per Share History 

EPS History
Next Fiscal Year Estimate $0.16
Dec2016 $0.41
Dec2015 -$0.09
Dec2014 $0.52
Dec2013 -$0.27
Dec2012 -$2.62
Dec2011 $1.31
Dec2010 $1.16
Dec2009 $0.90
Dec2008 $1.18
Dec2007 $1.53
Dec2006 $0.22
Dec2005 $0.94
Dec2004 $0.88
Dec2003 $1.26
Dec2002 $1.17
Dec2001 $1.25
Dec2000 $1.66
Dec1999 $0.98
Dec1998 $1.28
Dec1997 $1.14

Earnings Per Share – ModernGraham History 

EPSmg History
Next Fiscal Year Estimate $0.20
Dec2016 $0.01
Dec2015 -$0.21
Dec2014 -$0.17
Dec2013 -$0.31
Dec2012 -$0.09
Dec2011 $1.19
Dec2010 $1.08
Dec2009 $1.01
Dec2008 $1.03
Dec2007 $0.96
Dec2006 $0.75
Dec2005 $1.04
Dec2004 $1.14
Dec2003 $1.27
Dec2002 $1.27
Dec2001 $1.30

Recommended Reading:

Other ModernGraham posts about the company

None. This is the first time ModernGraham has covered the company.

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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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