In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Luminar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:LAZR) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Is Luminar Technologies 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.
Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, 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$129.6m||-US$136.3m||US$4.75m||US$116.0m||US$190.4m||US$277.0m||US$366.9m||US$452.4m||US$528.9m||US$594.6m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 64.14%||Est @ 45.5%||Est @ 32.44%||Est @ 23.31%||Est @ 16.91%||Est @ 12.44%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.5%||-US$119||-US$116||US$3.7||US$83.8||US$127||US$170||US$208||US$236||US$255||US$264|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.1b
The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. For a number of reasons a very conservative growth rate is used that cannot exceed that of a country's GDP growth. In this case we have used the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (2.0%) to estimate future growth. In the same way as with the 10-year 'growth' period, we discount future cash flows to today's value, using a cost of equity of 8.5%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$595m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (8.5%– 2.0%) = US$9.4b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$9.4b÷ ( 1 + 8.5%)10= US$4.2b
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$5.3b. 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$18.1, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Luminar Technologies 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 8.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.371. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For Luminar Technologies, we've compiled three additional aspects you should further research:
- Risks: We feel that you should assess the 2 warning signs for Luminar Technologies we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for LAZR's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- Other High Quality Alternatives: Do you like a good all-rounder? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!
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.
When trading Luminar Technologies or any other investment, use the platform considered by many to be the Professional's Gateway to the Worlds Market, Interactive Brokers. You get the lowest-cost* trading on stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted
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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.