When a company has some very popular brands, it can be tempting to assume that it is a good investment. Especially if those brands seem significantly stronger than competitor's brands. This is one important factor in what is called a company's "moat" and many investors will stop the analysis there, speculating that since the company has a large moat, it will be a safe investment over the long term. But Intelligent Investors know that the analysis must go further than that, as the intrinsic value is based on fundamentals of the company as Benjamin Graham taught. We must analyze those fundamentals in an attempt to gauge the risk level of the company and determine an estimate of the intrinsic value of the company. 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 L Brands Inc. (LB) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.
LB data by YCharts
Defensive Investor - must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 5/7
- Adequate Size of Enterprise - market capitalization of at least $2 billion - PASS
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition - current ratio greater than 2 - FAIL
- Earnings Stability - positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years - PASS
- Dividend Record - has paid a dividend for at least 10 straight years - PASS
- 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 - PASS
- Moderate PEmg ratio - PEmg is less than 20 - FAIL
- Moderate Price to Assets - PB ratio is less than 2.5 or PB x PEmg is less than 50 - FAIL
Enterprising Investor - must pass at least 4 of the following 5 tests or be suitable for a defensive investor: Score = 3/5
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 1 - current ratio greater than 1.5 - FAIL
- Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition, Part 2 - Debt to Net Current Assets ratio less than 1.1 - FAIL
- Earnings Stability - positive earnings per share for at least 5 years - PASS
- Dividend Record - currently pays a dividend - PASS
- Earnings growth - EPSmg greater than 5 years ago - PASS
|Value Based on 3% Growth||$38.18|
|Value Based on 0% Growth||$22.38|
|Market Implied Growth Rate||5.91%|
Balance Sheet - 11/2/2013
Earnings Per Share
Earnings Per Share - ModernGraham
LB Dividend data by YCharts
L Brands Inc. is not suitable for either the Defensive Investor or the Enterprising Investor. The company's current ratio is too low and the PEmg ratio is too high for the Defensive Investor. For the Enterprising Investor, there is too much debt relative to the company's current assets. As a result, value investors seeking to follow the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham's methods should research other opportunities, such as by reviewing a list of 5 Low PE Companies for the Defensive Investor or a list of 5 Undervalued Companies for the Enterprising Investor.
From a valuation perspective, the company appears to be undervalued after growing its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $1.34 in 2010 to an estimated $2.63 for 2014. This level of demonstrated historical growth outpaces the market's current implied estimate for growth of 5.91%, leading the ModernGraham valuation model to return an intrinsic value estimate that surpasses the market's current price.
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 L Brands Inc.? 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 L Brands Inc. (LB) or any other company mentioned in this article at the time of publication and had no intention of changing that position within the next 72 hours.