The stock of United States Cellular (NYSE:USM, 30-year Financials) appears to be fairly valued, according to GuruFocus Value calculation. GuruFocus Value is GuruFocus' estimate of the fair value at which the stock should be traded. It is calculated based on the historical multiples that the stock has traded at, the past business growth and analyst estimates of future business performance. If the price of a stock is significantly above the GF Value Line, it is overvalued and its future return is likely to be poor. On the other hand, if it is significantly below the GF Value Line, its future return will likely be higher. At its current price of $35.98 per share and the market cap of $3.1 billion, United States Cellular stock appears to be fairly valued. GF Value for United States Cellular is shown in the chart below.
Because United States Cellular is fairly valued, the long-term return of its stock is likely to be close to the rate of its business growth, which averaged 0.9% over the past five years.
Investing in companies with poor financial strength has a higher risk of permanent loss of capital. Thus, it is important to carefully review the financial strength of a company before deciding whether to buy its stock. Looking at the cash-to-debt ratio and interest coverage is a great starting point for understanding the financial strength of a company. United States Cellular has a cash-to-debt ratio of 0.37, which is in the middle range of the companies in Telecommunication Services industry. GuruFocus ranks the overall financial strength of United States Cellular at 4 out of 10, which indicates that the financial strength of United States Cellular is poor. This is the debt and cash of United States Cellular over the past years:
Investing in profitable companies carries less risk, especially in companies that have demonstrated consistent profitability over the long term. Typically, a company with high profit margins offers better performance potential than a company with low profit margins. United States Cellular has been profitable 9 years over the past 10 years. During the past 12 months, the company had revenues of $4 billion and earnings of $2.62 a share. Its operating margin of 4.78% in the middle range of the companies in Telecommunication Services industry. Overall, GuruFocus ranks United States Cellular's profitability as fair. This is the revenue and net income of United States Cellular over the past years:
Growth is probably the most important factor in the valuation of a company. GuruFocus research has found that growth is closely correlated with the long term stock performance of a company. A faster growing company creates more value for shareholders, especially if the growth is profitable. The 3-year average annual revenue growth of United States Cellular is 0.9%, which ranks in the middle range of the companies in Telecommunication Services industry. The 3-year average EBITDA growth rate is 31.3%, which ranks better than 85% of the companies in Telecommunication Services industry.
Another method of determining the profitability of a company is to compare its return on invested capital to the weighted average cost of capital. Return on invested capital (ROIC) measures how well a company generates cash flow relative to the capital it has invested in its business. The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the rate that a company is expected to pay on average to all its security holders to finance its assets. When the ROIC is higher than the WACC, it implies the company is creating value for shareholders. For the past 12 months, United States Cellular's return on invested capital is 2.31, and its cost of capital is 4.83. The historical ROIC vs WACC comparison of United States Cellular is shown below:
In summary, the stock of United States Cellular (NYSE:USM, 30-year Financials) is estimated to be fairly valued. The company's financial condition is poor and its profitability is fair. Its growth ranks better than 85% of the companies in Telecommunication Services industry. To learn more about United States Cellular stock, you can check out its 30-year Financials here.
To find out the high quality companies that may deliever above average returns, please check out GuruFocus High Quality Low Capex Screener.