Are AAON, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAON) Investors Paying Above The Intrinsic Value?

Does the March share price for AAON, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAON) reflect what it’s really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock’s intrinsic value by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today’s value. I will be using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Don’t get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for AAON

Crunching the numbers

We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second ‘steady growth’ period. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren’t available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.

Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today’s dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$36.0m US$67.4m US$82.0m US$94.8m US$105.7m US$114.8m US$122.3m US$128.5m US$133.7m US$138.2m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 21.65% Est @ 15.67% Est @ 11.49% Est @ 8.57% Est @ 6.52% Est @ 5.09% Est @ 4.08% Est @ 3.38%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.4% US$33.5 US$58.4 US$66.1 US$71.2 US$73.9 US$74.7 US$74.1 US$72.5 US$70.2 US$67.6

(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$662m

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business’s cash flow after the first stage. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 10-year government bond rate of 1.7%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today’s value at a cost of equity of 7.4%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2029 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$138m× (1 + 1.7%) ÷ 7.4%– 1.7%) = US$2.5b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$2.5b÷ ( 1 + 7.4%)10= US$1.2b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$1.9b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$47.8, the company appears reasonably expensive at the time of writing. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope – move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.

NasdaqGS:AAON Intrinsic value, March 18th 2020
NasdaqGS:AAON Intrinsic value, March 18th 2020

Important assumptions

We would point out that the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate and of course the actual cash flows. If you don’t agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the assumptions. The DCF also does not consider the possible cyclicality of an industry, or a company’s future capital requirements, so it does not give a full picture of a company’s potential performance. Given that we are looking at AAON as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighted average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation we’ve used 7.4%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.044. Beta is a measure of a stock’s volatility, compared to the market as a whole. We get our beta from the industry average beta of globally comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.

Next Steps:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Rather it should be seen as a guide to “what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?” If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. What is the reason for the share price to differ from the intrinsic value? For AAON, We’ve put together three relevant factors you should further research:

  1. Risks: Take risks, for example – AAON has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market’s sentiment for AAON’s future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  3. Other Solid Businesses: Low debt, high returns on equity and good past performance are fundamental to a strong business. Why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals to see if there are other companies you may not have considered!

PS. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every US stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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