I think that Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) is a wonderful business trading at an attractive price. As a result, I’m looking at buying Amazon shares for my portfolio right now.
Amazon.com divides its operations into two parts. The first part is the online retail and the second is the web services business (AWS).
AWS is the organisation’s cash engine, which accounts for around 14% of the overall company’s revenues. It’s easy to see why investors are attracted to AWS.
The web services business has operating margins of around 35%, which is impressive. That compares favourably to Apple (30%), Alphabet (30%), and ASML Holding (30%).
AWS is also growing rapidly. Last year, the business achieved 37% growth in revenue and 43% growth in earnings.
The remaining 86% of Amazon’s revenue comes from its retail operations. Operating margins in this part of the business are much lower, typically around 5%.
Low margins can make this part of the business seem unattractive. But I think that focusing on the margins here is a mistake.
In my view, the business is comparable to CostCo, which Charlie Munger views as a terrific company.
CostCo has low margins, but it makes money by customers paying a subscription to shop there. It does this by having a reputation for providing the lowest prices anywhere.
Amazon doesn’t have the same reputation when it comes to price. But I think it secures its reputation by having the fastest delivery times.
Just as customers know that nobody will have lower prices than CostCo, they know that nobody will get their goods to them faster than Amazon. In my view, this is a hugely under-appreciated feature of Amazon’s retail operations.
I think that the retail part of Amazon’s operations has a hugely valuable intangible asset.
Amazon shares have fallen by around 33% since the start of the year. At current prices, I’m buying the stock for my portfolio.
At first sight, the Amazon share price looks expensive, trading at a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 55. But I think that the P/E ratio is misleading here.
An impairment charge in the last quarter has left the company’s earnings per share lower than they might otherwise have been. That’s unlikely to be a recurring issue, but it pushes up the stock’s P/E ratio.
In 2021, the company generated just over $33bn in operating income. That implies a P/E ratio of around 35.
Amazon shares look attractively priced to me. The risk is that a recession will stall the company’s growth, but I don’t anticipate this being a long-term issue.
The biggest risk to the company that I can see is the possibility of an economic recession brought on by inflation. While this might be a short-term problem, I think that Amazon’s business strength will prevail over time.
I think that Amazon shares can be a great investment for my portfolio. The strength of its business, combined with its potential for strong returns, gives me confidence in buying the stock right now.