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5 hacks to analyse the BEN share price

Trying to make a share price guesstimate of Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX: BEN)? In this short article we’ll take a look at the company through the lens of a good analyst.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, or just ‘Bendigo Bank’, was formed following the merger of the Bendigo and Adelaide Banks in November 2007. BEN operates primarily within the retail banking space and has a network of more than 500 branches and agencies across Australia, predominantly on the East Coast and South Australia.

5 hacks to analyse the BEN share price

1. HR matters

For long-term investors looking to invest in great companies and hold them for five, 10 or 20 years, at Rask we think it’s fair to say that a good workplace and staff culture can lead to improved retention of high-quality personnel and, in turn, long-term financial success of a company.

One way Aussie investors can take a ‘look inside’ a company like Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd or Macquarie Group Ltd is to use a HR/jobs websites such as Seek. Seek’s website includes data on the HR of companies, including things like employee reviews. According to the most recent data we pulled on BEN, for example, the company’s overall workplace culture rating of 3/5 was less than the sector average of 3.23.

2. Are BEN’s lending margins are being squeezed?

ASX bank shares such as BEN need debt and good profit margins to make their business profitable. Meaning, a bank gets money from term deposit holders and wholesale debt investors and lends that money to homeowners, businesses and investors. The difference between what a bank pays to savers and what it makes from mortgage holders (for example) is the net interest margin or NIM. Remember: when it comes to NIMs, the wider the margin the better.

If you are plan to guesstimate the profits of a bank like BEN or Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ), knowing how much money the bank lends and what it makes per dollar lent to borrowers is important. That’s why the NIM is arguably the most important measure of BEN’s profitability. Across the ASX’s major bank shares, we calculated the average NIM to be 1.92% whereas Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd bank’s lending margin was 2.3%, meaning the bank produced a better-than-average return from lending money to customers versus its peers.

The reason analysts study the NIM so closely is because Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd earned 85% of its total income (akin to revenue) just from lending last year.

3. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd’s ROE: the measure of quality

Return on shareholder equity or just ‘ROE’ helps you compare the profit of a bank against its total shareholder equity, as shown on its balance sheet. The higher the ROE the better. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd’s ROE in the latest full year stood at 3.%, meaning for every $100 of shareholder equity in the bank it produced $3.00 in yearly profit. This was not as much as the sector average of 7.46%.

4. CET1: regulated capital protection

For Australia’s banks the CET1 ratio (aka ‘common equity tier one’) is paramount. CET1 represents the bank’s capital buffer which can go towards protecting it against financial collapse. According to our numbers, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd had a CET1 ratio of 9.4%. This was not as much as the sector average and not as much as the commonly accepted ‘unquestionably strong’ level of 10%.

5. Using BEN’s dividends to get a valuation

A dividend discount model or DDM is one of the most efficient ways to create a guesstimate of ASX bank shares. To do a DDM we have to arrive at a guesstimate of the bank’s dividends going forward (i.e. the next full-year dividend) and then apply a risk rating. Let’s assume the BEN’s dividend payment expands at a consistent rate each year into the future, somewhere between 2% and 3%. We will use multiple risk rates (between 6% and 11%) and then average the valuations.

According to this quick and simple DDM model, a valuation of BEN shares is $9.26. However, using an ‘adjusted’ or expected dividend payment of $0.54 per share, which is the preferred measure because it uses forecast dividends, the valuation goes to $9.18. The valuation compares to BEN’s current share price of $9.15. Since the company’s dividends are fully franked, we can make a further adjustment and do a valuation based on a ‘gross’ dividend payment. Using gross dividend payments, which take into account franking credits, the valuation guesstimate to $13.11.

While BEN shares might appear decent value right now based on this statistical method, please don’t make a decision to buy or sell BEN shares based on this article. Consider reading at least two or three years’ worth of Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltdannual reports and then seek out good investors and analysis which disagrees with your perspective — that’s a deliberate way to figure out if you’re making a compelling decision based on rigorous analysis and countering opinion. Finally, before going any further with BEN or MQG shares, I suggest getting a copy of our free investment report.

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