When analyzing a company's value, I follow an exacting process. I read all the data available on the company and its competitors, analyze the footnotes and financial statements, and make multiple adjustments to the reported income statement and balance sheet. This process often enables me to derive an accurate view of what lies at the heart of the company as opposed to accepting management's reports at face value.
Once I have normalized for my adjustment, I derive fair value using seven different earnings methodologies and then work toward one consensus number.
Even though I have analyzed all relevant information fairly and objectively, I still need a discount factor that reflects the possibility that my analysis is flawed.To create a margin of safety, I only buy the company's stock if I can purchase the shares at a 20% discount to fair value. When I apply these steps to making an informed investment decision, many stocks fail to meet my requirements. Most well-known companies that operate strong franchises sell at a premium that reflects both the value of the company and its position in the market. As often mentioned in my weekly newsletter EPIC Insights,this usually forces me to consider lesser-known companies or those facing serious business problems. However, I occasionally find an opportunity to purchase a solid company at an attractive price level. This week I have found such an opportunity with Coca-Cola (KO).
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