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QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) recently spun-off as an individual company, causing it to be difficult for Intelligent Investors to analyze without engaging in speculation. The trouble with spin-offs is that they inherently require speculation regarding what the company's earnings would have been had it been on its own before the spin-off, and Benjamin Graham taught that speculating is one of the biggest things to avoid when conducting an analysis of a given company.

Intelligent Investors must stick to their investment techniques and look primarily at the fundamentals and actual results the company achieves. A company must have strong financial statements to prove that it is stable enough for Intelligent Investors. 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. 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 specific look at how QEP Resources fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

QEP Chart

QEP data by YCharts

Defensive Investor - must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 2/7

  1. Adequate Size of Enterprise - market capitalization of at least $2 billion - PASS
  2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition - current ratio greater than 2 - FAIL
  3. Earnings Stability - positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years - FAIL
  4. Dividend Record - has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years - FAIL
  5. Earnings Growth - earnings per share has increased by at least 1/3 over the last 10 years using 3 year averages at beginning and end of period - FAIL
  6. Moderate PEmg ratio - PEmg is less than 20 - FAIL
  7. Moderate Price to Assets - PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 - PASS

Enterprising Investor - must pass at least 4 of the following 5 tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 2/5

  1. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 - current ratio greater than 1.5 - FAIL
  2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 - Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 - FAIL
  3. Earnings Stability - positive earnings per share for at least 5 years - PASS
  4. Dividend Record - currently pays a dividend - PASS
  5. Earnings growth - EPSmg greater than 5 years ago - FAIL

Valuation Summary

Key Data:

Recent Price$30.75
Value Based on 3% Growth$17.58
Value Based on 0% Growth$10.31
Market Implied Growth Rate8.43%
Net Current Asset Value (NCAV)-$29.81
PEmg25.36
Current Ratio0.77
PB Ratio1.61

Balance Sheet - 9/30/2013

Current Assets$546,800,000
Current Liabilities$707,400,000
Total Debt$2,882,300,000
Total Assets$9,306,700,000
Intangible Assets$59,500,000
Total Liabilities$5,880,600,000
Outstanding Shares178,900,000

Earnings Per Share

2013 (estimate)$1.28
2012$0.72
2011$1.50
2010$1.60
2009 ** prior to spin-off$1.21
2008 ** prior to spin-off$2.90
2007 ** prior to spin-off$2.05
2006 ** prior to spin-off$1.74

Earnings Per Share - ModernGraham

2013 (estimate)$1.21
2012$1.31
2011$1.69
2010$1.83
2009$1.82
2008$1.86

Dividend History

QEP Dividend Chart

QEP Dividend data by YCharts

Conclusion:

QEP Resources does not qualify for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor because it does not have a long enough history as an individual company. Without at least five years of operating history on its own, investors are left to speculate about how the company would have performed prior to its spin-off. As a result, investors should take note of the company and analyze it as much as possible, but keep it on a watch list until there is further information. In the meantime, value investors seeking to follow the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham's methods should research other opportunities, such as through a review of companies that pass the ModernGraham requirements. From a valuation perspective, even though there is not enough information to generate a solid estimate for growth, speculators will note that based on the current EPSmg (normalized earnings), and a growth rate of 3%, the company would only be worth $17.58 under the ModernGraham valuation model.

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 QEP Resources? Where do you see the company going in the future? Is there a company you like better?

Disclosure: The author did not hold a position in QEP Resources (QEP) or any of the other companies listed in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours.

Source: ModernGraham Annual Valuation Of QEP Resources