In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of LiveChat Software S.A. (WSE:LVC) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. 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. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.
Is LiveChat Software fairly valued?
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.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, 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
|Levered FCF (PLN, Millions)||zł97.0m||zł119.0m||zł138.0m||zł152.2m||zł164.4m||zł174.9m||zł184.0m||zł192.2m||zł199.7m||zł206.6m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 10.3%||Est @ 7.99%||Est @ 6.37%||Est @ 5.24%||Est @ 4.44%||Est @ 3.89%||Est @ 3.5%|
|Present Value (PLN, Millions) Discounted @ 7.8%||zł90.0||zł102||zł110||zł113||zł113||zł112||zł109||zł106||zł102||zł97.7|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = zł1.1b
After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond the first stage. 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 2.6%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.8%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = zł207m× (1 + 2.6%) ÷ (7.8%– 2.6%) = zł4.1b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= zł4.1b÷ ( 1 + 7.8%)10= zł1.9b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is zł3.0b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of zł125, the company appears around fair value 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.
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. Part of investing is coming up with your own evaluation of a company's future performance, so try the calculation yourself and check your own 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 LiveChat Software 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 7.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.937. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For LiveChat Software, there are three further factors you should consider:
- Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with LiveChat Software (at least 1 which is a bit unpleasant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
- Future Earnings: How does LVC's growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.
- 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 Polish stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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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