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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. 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 Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) fares in the ModernGraham valuation model.

WAT Chart

WAT data by YCharts

Defensive Investor - must pass at least 6 of the following 7 tests: Score = 4/7

  1. Adequate Size of Enterprise - market capitalization of at least $2 billion - PASS
  2. Sufficiently Strong Financial Condition - current ratio greater than 2 - PASS
  3. Earnings Stability - positive earnings per share for at least 10 straight years - PASS
  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 - PASS
  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 - FAIL

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

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

Valuation Summary

Key Data:

Recent Price$112.59
MG Value$137.21
MG OpinionFairly Valued
Value Based on 3% Growth$69.88
Value Based on 0% Growth$40.96
Market Implied Growth Rate7.43%
NCAV$8.69
PEmg23.36
Current Ratio5.24
PB Ratio5.42

Balance Sheet - 12/31/2013

Current Assets$2,556,300,000
Current Liabilities$487,500,000
Total Debt$1,190,000,000
Total Assets$3,582,600,000
Intangible Assets$589,500,000
Total Liabilities$1,819,500,000
Outstanding Shares84,820,000

Earnings Per Share

2013$5.20
2012$5.19
2011$4.69
2010$4.06
2009$3.34
2008$3.21
2007$2.62
2006$2.13
2005$1.74
2004$1.82

Earnings Per Share - ModernGraham

2013$4.82
2012$4.45
2011$3.92
2010$3.38
2009$2.89
2008$2.55

Conclusion:

Waters Corporation is not suitable for the Defensive Investor because it does not pay a dividend and is currently trading at high PEmg and PB ratios. The Enterprising Investor is willing to overlook the lack of a dividend payment, however, because the company passes all of the investor type's other requirements. As a result, Enterprising Investors seeking to follow the ModernGraham approach based on Benjamin Graham's methods should feel comfortable proceeding with further research into the company. As for a valuation, the company has grown its EPSmg (normalized earnings) from $2.89 in 2009 to $4.82, an impressive level of demonstrated historical growth that supports the market's implied estimate of earnings growth of 7.43%. Accordingly, the ModernGraham valuation model returns an estimate of intrinsic value that is within a margin of safety relative to the market price, and the company appears to be fairly valued.

Disclaimer: The author did not hold a position in Waters Corporation 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 Quarterly Valuation Of Waters Corp.