Does the August share price for Flex Ltd. (NASDAQ:FLEX) reflect what it’s really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock’s intrinsic value by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today’s value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they’re fairly easy to follow.
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company’s value, and a DCF is just one method. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Crunching the numbers
We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company’s cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. To begin with, we have to get estimates of the next ten years of cash flows. 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.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$793.5m||US$884.0m||US$723.0m||US$634.5m||US$584.3m||US$555.9m||US$540.6m||US$533.8m||US$532.7m||US$535.5m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ -12.25%||Est @ -7.91%||Est @ -4.87%||Est @ -2.74%||Est @ -1.25%||Est @ -0.21%||Est @ 0.52%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 12%||US$709||US$705||US$515||US$403||US$332||US$282||US$245||US$216||US$192||US$173|
(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$3.8b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 2.2%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today’s value at a cost of equity of 12%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$535m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (12%– 2.2%) = US$5.6b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$5.6b÷ ( 1 + 12%)10= US$1.8b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is US$5.6b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$10.6, the company appears about fair value at a 4.6% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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.
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 Flex 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 12%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.626. 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.
Whilst important, the DCF calculation ideally won’t be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you’d apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company’s valuation. 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. For Flex, we’ve compiled three further factors you should explore:
- Risks: Be aware that Flex is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those are significant…
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market’s sentiment for FLEX’s future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- 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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NASDAQGS every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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