• Three reasons why I am still bullish on the market. Read here.

Companies

  • Did you watch Your Money Your Call on Sky Business last night (25 February)?

    Roger Montgomery
    February 26, 2010

    Last night on the Sky Business Channel with Nina May, I received a few requests for comments on companies that I hadn’t included in my valuation tables.  So here are the valuations for those companies – Worleyparsons (WOR), Brambles (BXB), AGL Energy (AGK), Arrow Energy (AOE), Origin Energy (ORG) and SAI Global (SAI):

    Intrinsic Values*
    Company Code Price Intrinsic Value Forecast Intrinsic Value

    (Above Current Price? / above Current Value?)

    Forecast ROE range

    >20% preferred

    Net Debt / Equity

    <50% preferred

    WOR $24.36 $17.56 YES/yes 18%/21% 30.2%
    BXB $6.99 $3.76 NO/yes 30%/33% 149%
    AGK $13.80 $7.20 NO/yes 27%/32% 14.4%
    AOE $3.33 $0.04 NO/yes -0.6%/2.4% -9.4%
    ORG $16.50 $6.63 NO/yes 6.1%/7.7% -8.1%
    SAI $3.74 $1.88 NO/yes 16%/18.3% 68%

    *Be sure to read the warnings about intrinsic values.  See below.

    “Would you buy this stock?” is a question I have fielded innumerable times since selling my funds management businesses and leaving them as well as the investment company I listed on the ASX.  I am not in a position to answer it – having had 8 months of R&R since leaving, but I will let you know when I am.  The following information comes from an earlier post “What would you say about my portfolio?” where I have listed further intrinsic valuation estimates.

    When I am asked on air, sometimes without notice -by the guys at the ABC or Ross Greenwood at 2GB or Peter, Richard or Nina on Sky Business – what I think about a company, I will detail the price, the intrinsic value, the ROE, the debt and whether I believe that the intrinsic value will be rising by a decent clip in coming years.  These are the things that I believe are the most important determinants of an investor’s return.  Happily investors haven’t had to wait very long to see whether prices head towards the values – both Myer and Telstra are recent examples.

    ABOUT INTRINSIC VALUES

    We’d all prefer intrinsic values that were cast in stone. Unfortunately, they’re not. The valuation depends on the input so to be safer, I always run my model using two data sets. Importantly, I only run ONE valuation formula. My preferred method of investing would be to buy at a discount to the most conservative valuation but if I can’t get that and valuations are rising strongly in future years I might invest a smaller proportion of my portfolio in first class business at a substantial discount to the upper valuation.

    AN INVITATION

    I would be interested in hearing what you prefer to see. Would you prefer to see 1) the most conservative valuation only, 2) the valuation based on next year’s earnings forecast 3) based on the continuation of the historical performance of the company, or 4) both? Feel free to vote. What I like to use myself may not be what you want to see.

    WARNINGS

    Firstly, these valuations can change at any time and I may or may not update them here on the blog.  A company, for example, could announce a downgrade and the valuation would drop – potentially precipitously and I will probably busy doing something with my own portfolio(s) so do not under any circumstances rely on or expect these valuations being kept up to date here at all.

    Second, valuing a company is not the same as predicting the direction of its shares.  Just because a company’s shares are lower than my valuation, does not mean the shares will go up. Conversely, a price that is well above my valuation doesn’t mean the share price is going to fall.

    Third, my forthcoming book contains the information you need to calculate intrinsic value the way I do, so rather than ask me how I arrived at a valuation above, please register and wait for the book.

    Finally, don’t act on this information (which can and is likely to change without warning and without notifying you) – seek a professional advisor’s recommendation, preferably someone who knows you, your financial circumstances and needs.

    (Most importantly, don’t act without first speaking to an advisor who is familiar with your circumstances and needs.  You must not rely on my musings – they could change in a moment and anyway, they relate only to me. My thoughts here are “insights” into the way I think about stocks and they don’t have you in mind.)

    Posted by Roger Montgomery, 26 February 2010.

    by Roger Montgomery Posted in Companies, Insightful Insights
  • What do I think of Industrea?

    Roger Montgomery
    February 18, 2010

    On Sky Business last week with Nina May, a caller asked for my thoughts on Industrea.  I offered to put together an opinion and of course, the only way I know how to do that is to first run it through the model to learn whether or not it is 1) A Wonderful Business with 2) Bright prospects and available at 3) A bargain price.

    On the first point, a wonderful business, Industrea lost money until 2006 when it earned just under $2 million.  Its not history however that determines your returns.  It will be the future performance of the company.  More on that in a moment.  Last year the profits grew to $15 million but in order to generate that increase the company has raised equity and borrowed additional funds, to the tune of $309.5 million.  Dividing the additional profit of $13 million by the additional equity of about $110 million is a return on incremental equity of about 11%.  Not great but not bad either.  (see note about profit adjustment below which makes this return higher)

    According to some analysts and a recent company announcement (for FY10), the profit is expected to rise materially in the next three years to $48 million next year and $60 million in 2012 corresponding to a return on equity of about 25%.  Of course the 2009 profit probably wasn’t $15 if you back out unrealised movements in interest rate hedges, amortisation and impairment of Customer Contracts and the like.  If 25% returns are the case then the business looks ok except for the fact that debt exceeds equity.  Of course if the profit figures come through as expected, then the debts could be paid down considerably, unless the directors choose to pay much higher dividends.

    Based on the analysts forecasts for the next three years (of course subject to change in a moment’s notice and without any update here) the value of Industrea is 48 cents rising to 70 cents in 2012.  So the prospects for value increases looks ok and the shares are currently at a discount to today’s intrinsic value.

    Do I think its a great business?  I think there are better quality businesses around unless you can satisfy yourself that this company has genuine sustainable competitive advantages.  If you can, and believe the debt will start to decline, then the shares don’t look expensive.  Of course this is not a forecast of the share price.  Valuing a company is not the same as predicting the direction of the shares.  Seek professional advice with someone familiar with your needs and circumstances before acting.

    Posted by Roger Montgomery, 18 February 2010.

    by Roger Montgomery Posted in Companies
  • “What would you say about my portfolio?”

    Roger Montgomery
    February 12, 2010

    Its a question I have fielded innumerable times since selling my funds management businesses and leaving them as well as the investment company I listed on the ASX.  I am not in a position to answer it – having had 8 months of R&R since leaving, but I will let you know when I am.  It occurred to me however that most investors already have an established portfolio.  Those who are approaching or have entered retirement may have a large number of stocks too – although sometimes more a ‘museum’ than a portfolio.

    When I am asked on air, often without notice -by Paul Turton on the ABC or Ross Greenwood at 2GB or the Peter, Richard or Nina on Sky Business – what I think about a company, I will detail the price, the intrinsic value, the ROE, the debt and whether I believe that the intrinsic value will be rising by a decent clip in coming years.  These are the things that I believe are the most important determinants of an investor’s return.

    How then do investors with established portfolios respond?  What does one do, if for example, I believe a company is trading above its intrinsic value or is of an inferior quality to something else?  My concern is that an investor holding the stock may sell.  It may come to pass that this was the right decision, but there are many things to consider first.  And there is also the possibility that selling would be the wrong decision.

    (Most importantly, don’t act without first speaking to an advisor who is familiar with your circumstances and needs.  You must not rely on my musings – they could change in a moment and anyway, they relate only to me. My thoughts here are “insights” into the way I think about stocks and they don’t have you in mind.)

    By way of example, suppose you purchased the shares of a particular company many years ago at a significantly lower price than today’s price, rendering the yield now irreplaceable. What I mean, is that you bought the Reject Shop back in 2004 at $2.40.  The yield today is more than 25% on your purchase price.  And, what if the value is expected to rise to the current price in the next two (or three years)?  In this scenario, while it might seem a long time to wait for the value to catch up, it may be that the yield (based on the purchase price) is sufficient to warrant the wait.  Your personal circumstances are always relevant and on air, or here, I cannot know what your circumstances are.

    Of course, what I can do here is take a hypothetical portfolio and detail the quality, the value and the prospects of each company – all of them companies I have received from you multiple requests to value – based on my own approach.  It is the same as the detail I provide on my own Valueline portfolio in the Eureka Report for Alan Kohler, which I have now been publishing for eight months.  From here, the hypothetical investor could approach his or her financial adviser and have a chat about their circumstances, armed with additional and relevant information about some of the topics covered in that meeting.  If the adviser suggests the sale of stocks with losses for example, the investor so armed, can propose a response that involves selling the stocks (after receiving the advisor’s approval) displaying the highest premium to intrinsic value or with the least attractive prospects for intrinsic value.  Alternatively of course the advisor may recommend a completely different approach for you to take.

    So here is a theoretical portfolio:

    Mr XYZ’s Portfolio(intrinsic values can change at any time as more information becomes available)
    Company name Price Intrinsic Value Forecast Intrinsic Value

    (above current price/above current value)

    *If you believe analyst’s forecasts for sale,production and profits

    2yr forecast ROE range

    >20% preferred

    Net Debt/Equity

    <50% preferred

    AMP $6.25 $4.98 no/yes (2012) 34%/36% N/A
    ANZ $20.81 $17.73/$23.68## yes/yes (2012) 12%/16.4% N/A
    BHP $41.50 $36.44 yes/yes (2012) 27%/32% 14.4%
    Connect East $0.44 $0.00 no/no (2012) -2.2%/-5.9% N/A
    Fortesque $4.76 $2.09 yes/yes (2012) 33%/46% 210%
    Leightons $37.92 $32.18 yes/yes (2012) 24.6%/25.2% 34.3%
    NAB $24.88 $22.12 yes/yes (2012) 11%/15.4% N/A
    OZ Minerals $1.01 $0.06 no/yes (2011) 2.9%/9.4% 33.8%
    RIO $69.88 $42.01 yes/yes (2012) 17.8%/20.4% 182%
    Skilled Engineering $1.72 $0.66 no/yes (2012) 7.4%/11.8% 114.4%
    Santos $13.31 $3.59 no/yes (2012) 4.3%/5.2% 19.3%
    Suncorp $9.01 $5.18 no/yes (2012) 7.5%/8.5% N/A
    Transurban $5.23 $0.25 no/yes (2012) 1.5%/3.6% 113%
    Telstra $3.27 $3.12 yes/yes (2012) 31.6%/32.4% 130.7%
    Uranium Ex. (UXA) $0.05 $0.00 no/no (2012) n/a net cash
    Wesfarmers $28.45 $11.24 no/yes (2012) 6.3%/9.4% 14.7%
    Woodside $43.03 $26.42 yes/yes (2012) 12%/20.7% 40.5%
    CBA $52.84 $46.86 yes/yes (2012) 18.3%/21.2% N/A
    Myer $3.32 $2.76 no/yes (2012) 20.6%/23.5% 173.8%
    Bluescope $2.60 $0.53 yes/yes (2012) 2.9%/10.6% 13.3%
    Alesco $4.32 $1.88 no/yes (2012) 5.6%/8.6% 29.8%

    ##Read the following comments about the valuations:

    We’d all prefer intrinsic values that were cast in stone. Unfortunately, they’re not. The valuation depends on the input so to be safer, I always run my model using two data sets. Importantly, I only run ONE valuation formula. One valuation is based on estimates for next year’s result and the other is based on a continuation of the historical performance of the company. It gives me a ‘max’ and a ‘min’ – a kind of ‘range’ of valuations and that which Buffett has always advocated. The ‘historicals-continuing’ valuation version is useful where previous results have been volatile. The other reason for having this version is that I simply cannot get access to some companies or there are no analysts covering it – they can’t get access either or don’t want to, and so that’s when I have to use some progression or variation of past performance continuing. It’s the only way to get a valuation estimate for some companies. The idea is not to be perfect but to protect capital and do better than the market.  For example ANZ’s valuation based on a continuation of historical performance is $17.73, but based on forecasts is $23.68.  My preferred method of investing would be to buy at a discount to the most conservative valuation but if I can’t get that and valuations are rising strongly in future years I might invest a smaller proportion of my portfolio in first class business at a substantial discount to the upper valuation.

    I would be interested in hearing what you prefer to see. Would you prefer to see 1) the most conservative valuation only, 2) the valuation based on next year’s earnings forecast 3) based on the continuation of the historical performance of the company, or 4) both? Feel free to vote. What I like to use myself may not be what you want to see.

    Now, a couple of warnings.  Firstly, these valuations can change at any time and I may or may not update them here on the blog.  A company, for example, could announce a downgrade and the valuation would drop – potentially precipitously and I will probably busy doing something with my own portfolio(s) so do not under any circumstances rely on or expect these valuations being kept up to date here at all.  Second, my forthcoming book contains the information you need to calculate intrinsic value the way I do, so rather than ask me how I arrived at a valuation above, please wait for the book.  Third, don’t act on this information (which can and is likely to change without warning and without notifying you) – seek a professional advisor’s recommendation, preferably someone who knows you, your financial circumstances and needs.  Finally, valuing a company is not the same as predicting the direction of its shares.  Just because a company’s shares are lower than my valuation, does not mean the shares will go up. Conversely, a price that is well above my valuation doesn’t mean the share price is going to fall.

    Having said all that, I hope you found the theory and exercise stimulating and thought provoking.

    Posted by Roger Montgomery, 12 February 2010.

    (A REMINDER:  SOME WEBSITES AND COMPANIES MAY BE LEADING YOU AND OTHERS TO BELIEVE THAT THEY HAVE SOME ASSOCIATION OR RELATIONSHIP WITH “ROGER MONTGOMERY” AND THAT BY PURCHASING OR SUBSCRIBING TO THEIR PRODUCT OR SERVICE, YOU WILL HAVE ACCESS TO MY THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS.  IF THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU, LET ME KNOW.  YOU CAN LEAVE A MESSAGE HERE)

    by Roger Montgomery Posted in Companies, Insightful Insights
  • Do Asciano’s wins justify an optimistic price?

    Roger Montgomery
    February 4, 2010

    Asciano is a company I covered in detail this week in Alan Kohler’s Eureka Report.  Its popped up because it seems to be winning rail haulage market share from Queensland Rail.  One analyst sent me a research note today saying; “Asciano’s on a roll”  Tee, hee, hee indeed.

    AIO announced a coal haulage deal today with Macarthur Coal (MCC ) in Queensland for ~7mt starting in November.  The company now has 100% (10.7 mt) of Macarthur Coal, a 14.0mt contract with Rio/Xstrata, 5.8mt with Anglo and 1.1mt with Isaac Plains.  There are more contracts up for grabs as the coal business in Queensland continues to expand.  Analysts assuming Asciano wins a decent percentage of these, are upgrading their earnings estimates for Asciano.

    The company, however, offers several hurdles for the value investor. The first is the balance sheet, the second is the uncertain competitive landscape and the third the valuation.

    Recently Asciano announced it has no debt due for two-and-a-years. But this will fly as any parent of young children knows, and then the debt WILL be due.

    Reports of the company’s debt-free status are incorrect.   A capital raising and debt refinancing has still left the company with loans of $2.9 billion and $300 million in cash. That’s like you taking out a $2.9 million mortgage to buy a $3.2 million house. Total forecast liabilities of $3.9 billion should be compared to equity of $4.2 billion, which in turn includes intangibles/goodwill of $3.9 billion.

    While NPAT is expected to grow from the $71.8 million reported in 2009 to $205 million in 2010, $263 million in 2011 and $320–400 million in 2012 (subject to upgrades following today’s announcement).

    The second hurdle I referred to above is the competitive landscape.

    The Port of Melbourne Corporation would like a third operator to join Asciano and DP World’s P&O (also considering listing of its own later this year) on Melbourne’s wharves. In Queensland there are the proposed changes to the ownership of Queensland Rail (QR).  Under new, non-government ownership QR will have the incentive to “do a Telstra” on its competitors, especially Asciano, by charging more for the use of its network so it can offer lower prices to its own rail freight customers.

    Happily for those hoping for a better Asciano share price, the coal industry, with about $40 billion revenue last year and strong growth projected, has some clout and big coal companies will not be happy if their deliveries are affected in any way.

    Instability around Asciano’s competitive landscape means it is imprudent to be optimistic when valuing the company. And thats the third hurdle.

    Asciano will report its half-year results on February 24; most analysts, including me, expect it will show the company’s first ever December-half profit. But returns for the next three years will still average only about 7% for the next three years.

    Adopting an after tax 9% discount rate – the lowest I have ever given for any company – I get a valuation of 73¢.  The valuation rises for the next few years but goes nowhere the current price of $1.70 or broker target prices of about $2.

    Posted by Roger Montgomery

    February 4, 2010

    by Roger Montgomery Posted in Companies
  • How often do I revalue businesses?

    rogermontgomeryinsights
    February 1, 2010

    Paul wrote to me in December, asking for my valuation of Patties Foods.

    “I have finally had a look at PFL. Its value is about 80 cents and while it is expected to rise over the next three years, it still won’t get to the current price. The company is thus overpriced. PFL also raised a lot of money in 2007, evidently to pay down some debt, but today the debt is right back up there again. Not a first class business I am afraid either. Of course none of this is a prediction of the share price, which could halve or double. Valuing a company is not the same as predicting the price”.

    He subsequently wrote back with the following question… Roger, can I ask how often do you value companies? Following is my reply.

    In general terms, I revalue companies constantly. When a company provides an update to its guidance, when interest rates change, when a company makes an acquisition, raises capital or buys back shares, all these things may affect the value. The intrinsic value for whole the company may change or just on a per share basis. And because I am tracking so many companies, there are valuation changes occurring daily. continue…

    by rogermontgomeryinsights Posted in Companies, Insightful Insights
  • WHITEPAPER

    VALUE AND GROWTH: TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN

    The investment industry and media spend a lot of time discussing ‘value’ versus ‘growth’ investing – and which of them is currently winning. But we don’t believe they’re opposite concepts. Investors should consider both ideas together as they seek out quality companies with bright prospects that will deliver rewards over time.

    READ HERE
  • The Lowe’s are the best in the business, but would I buy Westfield?

    Roger Montgomery
    January 30, 2010

    Since early December Paul, Squigly, Steven and Darren have requested I value Westfield. WDC is also a popular stock with viewers of Nina May’s Your Money Your Call on the Sky Business Channel (you can watch highlights at my YouTube channel, just type ‘Westfield’ into the search feature), and rightly so. It’s a company run by three of the most capable men in the world and one whose shares I have owned in the past.

    Today its price, according to a number of analysts and strategists, does not appear to have responded to expectations for an improvement in economic conditions in the US. The biggest gap between inventories and orders since the mid 70’s, the decline in housing inventory, the strong turnaround in cyclical indicators and the steep yield curve all suggest an acceleration in US economic growth – by the way if this doesn’t sound like me, you are right. I am just repeating what I have been reading.

    I don’t subscribe to the view that it’s the job of the investor to allow macro economic forecasts to influence micro-based investment decisions.

    If however the economists are right, and the US economic recovery does gain traction, then all that remains is a recovery in consumer confidence to see Westfield benefit. Of course if the US economic strength is sustained, then one suspects the US dollar will also recover, making Westfield’s profits more valuable in Australian dollar terms.

    Those things aside, lets have a quick look at the valuation and take a dispassionate view about the price irrespective of whether others believe the price has or hasn’t responded to US growth expectations. continue…

    by Roger Montgomery Posted in Companies, Consumer discretionary, Property
  • Will 2010 be the year of inflation, interest rates, commodities and Oil Search?

    rogermontgomeryinsights
    January 30, 2010

    Welcome back. On Christmas Eve, just before I left for my annual family holiday, I said that this year would be fascinating in terms of inflation, interest rates and commodities prices. Interest rates can be ticked off – the topic has already been front page news and I expect the subject to hot up even more over the coming year.

    Inflation and commodities however are arguably even more interesting. When money velocity picks up in the US – that is, the speed with which money changes hands – inflation could be a problem. I don’t know whether that will be this year or not, but I do know that at some point the benign inflation and extraordinarily low interest rates will be nothing but a fond memory.

    One of the places inflation presents is in commodity prices, and there is no shortage of very smart, successful and wealthy people – Jim Rogers is one – who believe the bull market in commodities is far from over. continue…

    by rogermontgomeryinsights Posted in Companies, Energy / Resources, Insightful Insights
  • Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas

    rogermontgomeryinsights
    December 24, 2009

    I am away for Christmas and January and will only be publishing thoughts to the blog on a spasmodic basis.

    If you go to my website, www.rogermontgomery.com, and register for my book or send a message to me, I will let you know via email when I am back on deck.

    I expect 2010 will be a very interesting year on the inflation, interest rate and commodity fronts so stay tuned and focus on understanding what is driving a company’s return on equity and how to arrive at its value.

    Before doing anything seek always professional advice, but zip up your wallet if you hear the words “only trade with what you can lose”. I don’t like losing money at any time and neither should you.

    Posted by Roger Montgomery, 23 December 2009

    by rogermontgomeryinsights Posted in Companies, Energy / Resources, Insightful Insights, Market Valuation
  • Which Bank do you own?

    rogermontgomeryinsights
    December 24, 2009

    Half of all shareholders in Australia own at least one major bank in their share portfolios. The economics for banks in the last two years have changed dramatically and on several fronts.

    First, they are believed to have largely dodged the impact of the GFC. This was predictable, as was the second change – the substantial gain in market share the banks enjoyed as their mortgage origination peers fell like dominoes relying, as they were, on short term wholesale funding and with no deposit base.

    For both reasons I mentioned at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 on CNBC that bank prices represented a rare opportunity to own the best businesses you can on an island – a legislated oligopoly that charges people to get their own money in and out.  You can see the video from December 16 here.

    There was also another major change that kept analysts on our toes. Dilutionary capital raisings wreaked havoc on the returns on equity and the equity per share for all four majors. Then Westpac, previously the bank with the best business performance, bought St George, and CBA bought ING. NAB has since bid for Axa (at arguably a price that is double the intrinsic value of the Axa) and ANZ…well who knows (read more here)

    The effect of all this activity has not changed the fundamental attraction of owning a big four bank on an island of 22 million people who don’t care what you charge them because they cannot be bothered moving to another bank; “they’re all the same”. What has changed however is the future returns on equity for each of the banks and therefore, their intrinsic values.

    Here’s my take on each banks’ forecast return on equity range for the next few years and valuation. I have ordered them by profitability in ascending order (ROE range, Intrinsic value):

    NAB (11%-15%, $22.08)

    ANZ (12.6%-16%, $18.10)

    WBC (14.5%-18%, $19.19)

    CBA (17.5% – 20.7%, $53.53)

    In every case, current prices are well ahead of the current valuation however, I should add that the valuations are based on 2010 estimates and for all four banks, the valuations rise significantly in future years as ROE heads towards the top of each of the ranges given. Given the time frames that I can see, you will be waiting for values to catch up to current prices. NAB and ANZ are the cheapest, but you are buying the new 2nd tier banks. WBC is a better performing bank than ANZ and NAB but its price reflects it and you will be waiting twice as long as the others to catch up.

    Many of you have told me you want to keep this blog a little bit of a secret, but let me tell you we will all benefit if we receive contributions and insights from those closer to the coal face of various industries.  So let me encourage you to post your own thoughts and insights and invite anyone else you know (that owns bank shares for example or works in a company that is a competitor to any of those I mention) to do likewise. Do you think you know anyone that owns bank shares and would benefit from this insight? Spread the link.

    http://rogermontgomeryinsights.wordpress.com/

    Posted by Roger Montgomery, 23 December 2009

    by rogermontgomeryinsights Posted in Companies, Financial Services, Insightful Insights
  • Can you value commodity type companies?

    rogermontgomeryinsights
    December 24, 2009

    Commodity prices…  can anyone predict their movements? Driven by supply and demand, and exaggerated by speculation, predicting the price of oil, iron ore, coal, diamonds and titanium is an almost impossible task.  \It is however a task that is required if you are planning to buy shares in a mining company. Ruling out mining exploration companies that make no profit, and whose race to a valuation of zero is only retarded by the amount of cash remaining in the bank and measured by a ratio called the cash ‘burn’ rate, we are left with the producers.

    For reasons mentioned above, no mining company is easy to value, however some lend themselves to valuations better than others. The best are those that are large, broadly diversified and relatively stable. BHP immediately comes to mind.  Born as a silver and lead mine in Broken Hill in 1885, BHP, following the 2001 merger between it and Billiton, is now the world’s largest mining company with operations from Algeria to Tobago and everywhere in between.

    But even BHP cannot escape the commodity cycle and this can be seen in the swings in its valuations in the past.  BHP’s valuation can be $48 in one year (2008) and $13 the next (2009). This “valuation volatility” is vastly different to JB Hi-Fi, for example, whose value has risen from less than a dollar in 2003 to $20 to $24 today and in a steady ‘staircase’ fashion.

    Many of you have asked me for a valuation for BHP. Using the earnings estimates of the rated analysts on the company, there is clearly some optimism about BHP’s prospects. Returns on equity are expected to rise from 17.5% this year to 24% next year, and circa 28% in 2011 and 2012. These numbers however are still lower than the rates of return the company generated between 2005 and 2007. The estimate I come up with for BHP using the actual estimates of the rated analysts is a value of A$36.56, and if the analysts are right, the value rises dramatically in future years.

    Warren Buffett doesn’t like businesses that are price takers – commodity type businesses. The reason is that it is impossible to forecast future rates of return on equity with any confidence.  BHP reflects this historically.  BHP is big enough now that in some cases it is calling the (price) shots, but don’t forget we are talking about capital-intensive businesses.

    Posted by Roger Montgomery, 23 December 2009

    by rogermontgomeryinsights Posted in Companies, Energy / Resources