Shares of TRMB Are on Sale - But What’s the Risk?

Standing out among the Street's worst performers today is Trimble, a scientific & technical instruments company whose shares slumped -6.5% to a price of $56.01, 26.62% below its average analyst target price of $76.33.

The average analyst rating for the stock is buy. TRMB lagged the S&P 500 index by -7.0% so far today and by -14.8% over the last year, returning -32.0%.

Trimble Inc. provides technology solutions that enable professionals and field mobile workers to enhance or transform their work processes worldwide. The company is part of the technology sector, whose combine explosive growth potential with high valuations and high volatility. Investors are often willing to overlook the risks and inflated valuations of the sector because of this promise of future growth potential.

Trimble's trailing 12 month P/E ratio is 27.5, based on its trailing Eps of $2.04. The company has a forward P/E ratio of 18.1 according to its forward Eps of $3.1 -- which is an estimate of what its earnings will look like in the next quarter. The P/E ratio is the company's share price divided by its earnings per share. In other words, it represents how much investors are willing to spend for each dollar of the company's earnings (revenues minus the cost of goods sold, taxes, and overhead). As of the third quarter of 2022, the technology sector has an average P/E ratio of 26.5, and the average for the S&P 500 is 15.97.

To better understand TRMB’s valuation, we can divide its price to earnings ratio by its projected five-year growth rate, which gives us its price to earnings, or PEG ratio. Considering the P/E ratio in the context of growth is important, because many companies that are undervalued in terms of earnings are actually overvalued in terms of growth.

Trimble’s PEG is 2.12, which indicates that the company is overvalued compared to its growth prospects. Bear in mind that PEG ratios have limits to their relevance, since they are based on future growth estimates that may not turn out as expected.

An analysis of the company's gross profit margins can help us understand its long term profitability and market position. Gross profits are the company's revenue minus the cost of goods only, and unlike earnings, don't take into account taxes and overhead. Here's an overview of Trimble's gross profit margin trends:

Date Reported Revenue ($) Cost of Revenue ($) Gross Margins (%) YoY Growth (%)
2021-12-31 3,659,100,000.0 1,536,500,000.0 58.01 -1.31
2021-01-01 3,147,700,000.0 1,297,600,000.0 58.78 2.28
2020-01-03 3,264,300,000.0 1,388,200,000.0 57.47 -0.03
2018-12-28 3,108,400,000.0 1,321,500,000.0 57.49 n/a
  • Average gross margin: 57.9 %
  • Average gross margin growth rate: 0.3 %
  • Coefficient of variability (lower numbers indicating more stability): 1.1 %

We can see from the above that Trimble's gross margins are very strong. Potential investors in the stock will want to determine what factors, if any, could derail this attractive growth story.

Companies have many costs that arise independently from their core business: cost of maintaining debt, rent payments, capital expenditures, depreciation, etc. When all of these separate cash flows are taken into account, we are left with the company's free cash flow, which for Trimble was $704,400,000.00 as of its last annual report. This represents the amount of money that is available for reinvesting in the business, or for paying out to investors in the form of a dividend. With its strong cash flows, TRMB is in a position to do either -- which can encourage more investors to place their capital in the company. Over the last four years, the company's free cash flow has been growing at a rate of 18.9% and has on average been $563,675,000.00.

Value investors often analyze stocks through the lens of its Price to Book (P/B) Ratio (its share price divided by its book value). The book value refers to the present value of the company if the company were to sell off all of its assets and pay all of its debts today - a number whose value may differ significantly depending on the accounting method. Trimble's P/B ratio indicates that the market value of the company exceeds its book value by a factor of 3.6, but is still below the average P/B ratio of the Technology sector, which stood at 5.57 as of the third quarter of 2022.

Trimble is likely undervalued at today's prices because it has an average P/E ratio, a lower P/B ratio than the sector average, and a steady stream of strong cash flows with an upwards trend. The stock has mixed growth indicators because of its consistently strong gross margins that are stable, and an above average PEG ratio. We hope this preliminary analysis will encourage you to do your own research into TRMB's fundamental values -- especially their trends over the last few years, which provide the clearest picture of the company's valuation.

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The above analysis is intended for educational purposes only and was performed on the basis of publicly available data. It is not to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Any buy, sell, or other recommendations mentioned in the article are direct quotations of consensus recommendations from the analysts covering the stock, and do not represent the opinions of Market Inference or its writers. Past performance, accounting data, and inferences about market position and corporate valuation are not reliable indicators of future price movements. Market Inference does not provide financial advice. Investors should conduct their own review and analysis of any company of interest before making an investment decision.