It is very important to understand a company’s management strategy and management’s ability to create wealth for its shareholders. By using The Applied Finance Group’s (AFG’s) Management Quality score investors have the ability to grade management’s ability to make wealth creating decisions and eliminate wealth destroying firms from your list of constituents. AFG’s Management Quality variable is used as an exclusionary variable to get rid of companies which continue to grow their businesses when they are not profitable (generating negative Economic Margin or negative EM, which is AFG’s way of understanding a firm’s economic profitability).
When business units are unproductive and destroying wealth, management teams should not be looking to grow that business unit and concentrate on the parts of their company that have been creating wealth. Instead, the corporation needs to fix the broken parts of its business first by divesting losers and work on improving profitability to earn the right to expand. The best strategy AFG or any investor likes to see is a very profitable business (generating positive EMs) that grows its assets to maximize its profitability.
The companies listed below have been following a wealth destroying strategy and also look unattractive according to AFG’s valuation model and other key criteria AFG evaluates when considering the attractiveness of potential investment opportunities. These companies should be looked at with caution when considering these companies as additions to your clients portfolio as they contain many of the characteristics that AFG has proven to cause a company to be more likely to underperform the market and its sector peers.
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AFG's Valuation Metric – Measures the percent to target (deviation between a stock’s current trading price and its AFG current default target price). To derive the intrinsic value of a firm, AFG uses its proprietary Valuation Model (modified discounted cash flow model).
Economic Margin - A corporate performance measurement that addresses the gaps in GAAP, eliminating distortions caused by accounting policies to measure what a company is truly earning above or below their cost of capital.
Management Quality – Assesses management’s ability to make wealth creating decisions.