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Monday, August 27, 2012

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) Dividend Stock Analysis

Linked here is a detailed quantitative analysis of Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Verizon Communications Inc. is the largest U.S. wireless carrier, Verizon also offers wireline and broadband services primarily in the northeastern U.S.

Fair Value: In calculating fair value, I consider the NPV MMA Differential Fair Value along with these four calculations of fair value, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. Avg. High Yield Price
2. 20-Year DCF Price
3. Avg. P/E Price
4. Graham Number

VZ is trading at a premium to all four valuations above. Since VZ's tangible book value is not meaningful, a Graham number can not be calculated. The stock is trading at a 71.8% premium to its calculated fair value of $25.61. VZ did not earn any Stars in this section.

Dividend Analytical Data: In this section there are three possible Stars and three key metrics, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. Free Cash Flow Payout
2. Debt To Total Capital
3. Key Metrics
4. Dividend Growth Rate
5. Years of Div. Growth
6. Rolling 4-yr Div. > 15%

VZ earned two Stars in this section for 1.) and 2.) above. A Star was earned since the Free Cash Flow payout ratio was less than 60% and there were no negative Free Cash Flows over the last 10 years. The stock earned a Star as a result of its most recent Debt to Total Capital being less than 45%. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1984 and has increased its dividend payments for 8 consecutive years.

Dividend Income vs. MMA: Why would you assume the equity risk and invest in a dividend stock if you could earn a better return in a much less risky money market account (MMA) or Treasury bond? This section compares the earning ability of this stock with a high yield MMA. Two items are considered in this section, see page 2 of the linked PDF for a detailed description:

1. NPV MMA Diff.
2. Years to > MMA

The NPV MMA Diff. of the $876 is below the $2,700 target I look for in a stock that has increased dividends as long as VZ has. The stock's current yield of 4.55% exceeds the 2.6% estimated 20-year average MMA rate.

Memberships and Peers: VZ is a member of the S&P 500. The company’s peer group includes: AT&T Inc. (T) with a 5.3% yield, CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL) with a 6.9% yield and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) with a 0.0%.

Conclusion: VZ did not earn any Stars in the Fair Value section, earned two Stars in the Dividend Analytical Data section and did not earn any Stars in the Dividend Income vs. MMA section for a total of two Stars. This quantitatively ranks VZ as a 2-Star Weak stock.

Using my D4L-PreScreen.xls model, I determined the share price would need to decrease to $26.98 before VZ's NPV MMA Differential decreased to the $2,700 minimum that I look for in a stock with 8 years of consecutive dividend increases. At that price the stock would yield 7.4%.

Resetting the D4L-PreScreen.xls model and solving for the dividend growth rate needed to generate the target $2,700 NPV MMA Differential, the calculated rate is 6.8%. This dividend growth rate is higher than the 1.9% used in this analysis, thus providing no margin of safety. VZ has a risk rating of 2.00 which classifies it as a Medium risk stock.

As the Communication Services sector moves more toward wireless products, VZ is well-positioned to maintain its leadership role. It continues to grow market share even with premium pricing compared to its rivals. Like most traditional communications companies, VZ's land-line business continues to feel pressure as consumers select other alternatives.

The company enjoys strong cash flow generation, a low debt position, a perception of network quality and pricing power over its suppliers. VZ's low dividend growth rate of 1.9%, short history of consecutive dividend increases and rich valuation, keep me from adding the stock to my Dividend Growth Portfolio. However, I do hold the stock in my High-Yield Portfolio.

Disclaimer: Material presented here is for informational purposes only. The above quantitative stock analysis, including the Star rating, is mechanically calculated and is based on historical information. The analysis assumes the stock will perform in the future as it has in the past. This is generally never true. Before buying or selling any stock you should do your own research and reach your own conclusion. See my Disclaimer for more information.

Full Disclosure: At the time of this writing, I was long in VZ (5.7% of my High Yield Portfolio) and long in T and CTL in my Dividend Growth Portfolio. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

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