Cliffs is a mining and natural resources company in the U.S., tracing its history to 1847. It supplies iron ore pellets to the North American steel industry from mines and pellet plants located in Michigan and Minnesota. Additionally, Cliffs operates an iron ore mining complex in Western Australia.
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A company creates wealth for its long-term shareholders in 2 main ways - through dividend payments and through the accumulation of retained earnings. This graph shows the accumulation of per-share equity of long-term shareholders (green bars), which consists of the retained earnings plus all capital invested in the company, and the cumulative dividends the company has paid over time per share of its stock (blue bars).
In the words of Warren Buffett: "We're looking for... businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt."
Return on equity is a key metric of financial performance, indicating a company's ability to generate earnings using shareholder capital. Over time, ROE is one of the major determinants of the rate at which a company creates shareholder wealth. The average ROE for large U.S. companies is 12%, and many investors use it as a threshold for attractive investments.
Companies can boost ROE by increasing leverage, which reduces the safety of the investment. Therefore, it is useful to look at the return on assets (ROA), which measures a company's earning power regardless of its capital structure. A widening gap between ROE and ROA may be a warning sign that should be thoroughly investigated.
Earnings per share is a popular metric used to value a company (using P/E ratio); growth in EPS is often used to judge company growth potential. However, many investors believe that EPS is an inferior metric to ROE, because it ignores the amount of capital the company used to generate earnings.
Free cash flow shows how much cash a company generates from operations, above and beyond what is required to maintain or expand its productive assets. This cash can be returned to investors, or spent by management on growing the company or paying back its debts.
Balance sheets of many companies contain intangible assets such as goodwill, trademarks, patents, etc. Many investors consider intangibles more difficult to value than physical assets. If intangible assets had been valued incorrectly, they must be impaired, resulting in a loss charged against shareholder equity. This chart demonstrates the potential loss to shareholder equity from such impairments.
Companies often use debt financing to increase their return on equity. However, as the amount of debt financing increases relative to the amount of equity financing, the company becomes more sensitive to down turns and other negative events. As a result, many investors use the ratio of debt to equity as a measure of a company's financial risk, and avoid companies that have this ratio above 1.
This chart shows shareholder equity as a percentage of total assets, allowing investors to judge the overall leverage. Companies with a higher proportion of equity can be viewed as safer investments. This metric is particularly important for highly leveraged institutions, such as banks, where it must be at least 4% according to government regulations.
The ratio of current assets to current liabilities is known as the current ratio. This metric is a quick measure of the company's ability to pay its short-term obligations. A current ratio below 1 is a warning sign that should be investigated, especially for companies that cannot count on adequate cash flow from operations.
This chart shows the cumulative dilution of investor ownership in a company over time. Dilution reduces an investor's participation in the future earnings. Dilution increases when a company issues new shares, and decreases when a company buys its shares back. Many investors avoid companies with large chronic dilution.
analysis provides insight into factors affecting the Return On Equity of a company.
The DuPont equation decomposes ROE as follows:
ROE = (Net margin) * (Asset turnover) * (Asset to equity ratio)
Net margin indicates operating efficiency, Asset turnover measures the total asset use efficiency, and the Asset to equity ratio is a measure of financial leverage.
The dividend payout ratio tells investors what percentage of earnings a company returns to shareholders, and what percentage it retains and reinvests. This ratio represents a major capital allocation decision by the company, and can be used to judge management rationality. Rational management should pay out all earnings that cannot be productively reinvested. Therefore, a low dividend payout ratio for a profitable company with a low growth potential may be a warning sign.
Many investors use the P/B ratio as a quick way of judging company valuation. Value investors - followers of Graham and Dodd - specifically seek out companies with low P/B ratios. However, investors should be careful not to make investment decisions on this metric alone, without considering a company's earning and growth potential, since a low P/B ratio can be a sign of a bleak future for the business.
P/E ratio is a popular way of making a quick judgment of a company valuation. Value investors - followers of Graham and Dodd - often seek solid companies with low P/E ratios as investment opportunities. However, P/E ratio represents an oversimplified approach to business valuation, and can often lead to incorrect investment decisions.
During the second quarter, we settled 2.3 million of the 2.5 million common shares re-purchased under a May 2006 authorization by Cliffs' Board of Directors at a cost of $81.0 million. On July 11, 2006, the Board of Directors authorized an additional two million common share repurchase program.
On January 17, 2008, 24,010 preferred shares were converted to 1,589,176 shares of common stock at a conversion rate of 66.1881. In the second quarter of 2008, an additional 91,150 preferred shares were converted to 12,128,838 shares of common stock at a conversion rate of 133.0646, reducing our preferred stock outstanding to 19,555 shares.
On May 19, 2009, we completed a public offering of our common shares. The total number of shares sold was 17.25 million, comprised of a 15 million share offering and the exercise of an underwriters' over-allotment option to purchase an additional 2.25 million common shares. The common shares sold were out of treasury stock, and the sale did not result in an increase in the number of shares authorized or the number of shares issued. A registration statement relating to these securities was filed with and declared effective by the SEC. Net proceeds at a price of $21.00 per share were approximately $348 million.
On May 12, 2011, we completed our previously announced acquisition of Consolidated Thompson by acquiring all of the outstanding common shares of Consolidated Thompson for C$17.25 per share in an all-cash transaction, including net debt, pursuant to the terms of the definitive arrangement agreement dated as of January 11, 2011. Upon the acquisition: (a) each outstanding Consolidated Thompson common share was acquired for a cash payment of C$17.25; (b) each outstanding option and warrant that was in the money was acquired for cancellation for a cash payment of C$17.25 less the exercise price per underlying Consolidated Thompson common share; (c) each outstanding performance share unit was acquired for cancellation for a cash payment of C$17.25; (d) all outstanding Quinto Mining Corporation rights to acquire common shares of Consolidated Thompson were acquired for cancellation for a cash payment of C$17.25 per underlying Consolidated Thompson common share; and (e) certain Consolidated Thompson management contracts were eliminated that contained certain change of control provisions for contingent payments upon termination. The acquisition date fair value of the consideration transferred totaled $4.6 billion. Our full ownership of Consolidated Thompson has been included in the consolidated financial statements since the acquisition date, and the subsidiary is reported as a component of our Eastern Canadian Iron Ore segment.
We recorded other long-lived asset impairment charges of $7,695.6 million during the third quarter of 2014 related to our Wabush operation and Bloom Lake operation within our Eastern Canadian Iron Ore operating segment, our Asia Pacific Iron Ore operating segment and our CLCC thermal operation, Oak Grove operation and Pinnacle operation within our North American Coal operating segment, along with impairments charged to reporting units within our Other reportable segments. The impairment charges were primarily a result of changes in life-of-mine cash flows due to declining pricing for both global iron ore and low-volatile metallurgical coal, which impacts our estimate of long-term pricing, along with changes in strategic focus including exploratory phases of possible divestiture of the operations.
In February 2013, we issued 731,250 shares of 7.00% Series A Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, Class A ("Series A preferred shares"). Under the terms of the Series A preferred shares, when and if declared by our Board of Directors, holders of the Series A preferred shares are entitled to cumulative dividends at an annual rate of 7.00 percent on the liquidation preference of $1,000 per share. On January 4, 2016, we announced that, under the terms of our Series A preferred shares, the final quarterly dividend otherwise payable upon mandatory conversion of the Series A preferred shares on February 1, 2016, would not be paid in cash. Instead, pursuant to the terms of the Series A preferred shares, the conversion rate was increased such that holders of the Series A preferred shares received additional Cliffs' common shares in lieu of the accrued dividend at the time of the mandatory conversion. In accordance with applicable law, our Board of Directors determined not to declare a dividend payable in cash. The number of our common shares in the aggregate issued in lieu of the dividend was approximately 1.26 million. This resulted in an effective conversion rate of .9052 common shares, rather than .8621 common shares, per depositary share, each representing one-fortieth of a share of Series A preferred shares. Upon conversion on February 1, 2016, an aggregate of 26.5 million common shares were issued, representing 25.2 million common shares issuable upon conversion and 1.3 million that were issued in lieu of a final cash dividend.
On February 9, 2017, we issued 63.25 million common shares in an underwritten public offering. We received net proceeds of $661.3 million at a public offering price of $10.75 per common share.
During the year ended December 31, 2017, we issued 63.25 million common shares in an underwritten public offering. We received net proceeds of $661.3 million at a public offering price of $10.75 per common share. The net proceeds from the issuance of our common shares and the net proceeds from the issuance of $1.075 billion 5.75% 2025 Senior Notes were used to redeem in full all of our outstanding 8.25% 2020 First Lien Notes, 8.00% 2020 1.5 Lien Notes and 7.75% 2020 Second Lien Notes. Additionally, through tender offers, we purchased certain of our 5.90% 2020 Senior Notes, our 4.80% 2020 Senior Notes and our 4.875% 2021 Senior Notes. The aggregate principal amount outstanding of debt redeemed was $1.611 billion, which resulted in a loss on extinguishment of $165.4 million.