Monday, October 1, 2012

Waste Management, Inc. (WM) Dividend Stock Analysis

Linked here is a detailed quantitative analysis of Waste Management, Inc. (WM). Below are some highlights from the above linked analysis:

Company Description: Waste Management Inc. is a Houston-based company that is the largest U.S. trash hauling/disposal concern.

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

WM is trading at a premium to all four valuations above. Since WM's tangible book value is not meaningful, a Graham number can not be calculated. The stock is trading at a 37.4% premium to its calculated fair value of $24.72. WM 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%

WM earned no Stars in this section. The company has paid a cash dividend to shareholders every year since 1998 and has increased its dividend payments for 9 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 $1,273 is below the $2,600 target I look for in a stock that has increased dividends as long as WM has. The stock's current yield of 4.18% exceeds the 2.6% estimated 20-year average MMA rate.

Memberships and Peers: WM is a member of the S&P 500. The company's peer group includes: Casella Waste Systems Inc. (CWST) with a 0.0% yield, Republic Services, Inc. (RSG) with a 3.3% yield, and Waste Connections Inc. (WCN) with a 1.2% yield.

Conclusion: WM did not earn any Stars in the Fair Value section, did not earn any Stars in the Dividend Analytical Data section and did not earn any Stars in the Dividend Income vs. MMA section for a total of zero Star. This quantitatively ranks WM as a 0-Star Avoid stock.

Using my D4L-PreScreen.xls model, I determined the share price would need to decrease to $24.85 before WM's NPV MMA Differential increased to the $2,600 minimum that I look for in a stock with 9 years of consecutive dividend increases. At that price the stock would yield 5.7%.

Resetting the D4L-PreScreen.xls model and solving for the dividend growth rate needed to generate the target $2,600 NPV MMA Differential, the calculated rate is 7.5%. This dividend growth rate is higher than the 4.4% used in this analysis, thus providing no margin of safety. WM has a risk rating of 2.25 which classifies it as a Medium risk stock.

With nearly 300 landfills, WM is the 800 pound gorilla within the integrated waste services industry. Its core business generates annuity-like cash flows by providing services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The company will likely continue to make niche acquisitions while pursuing share buybacks and increasing dividends.

WM's dividend fundamentals are not favorable. Its Free Cash Flow Payout is in excess of the 60% maximum that I look for and its Debt To Total Capital is in excess of my 45% maximum. In addition the stock is trading well above my fair value price of $24.72. For now WM is not a stock that I am considering for any of my income portfolios.

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 held no position in WM (0.0% of my Dividend Growth Portfolio). See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

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Tags: [WM] [CWST] [RSG] [WCN]

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