Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Niu Technologies (NASDAQ:NIU) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.
We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.
Crunching the numbers
We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. 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 discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF (CN¥, Millions)||CN¥502.5m||CN¥600.0m||CN¥1.00b||CN¥1.50b||CN¥1.90b||CN¥2.26b||CN¥2.57b||CN¥2.84b||CN¥3.06b||CN¥3.25b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 26.37%||Est @ 19.06%||Est @ 13.94%||Est @ 10.35%||Est @ 7.84%||Est @ 6.09%|
|Present Value (CN¥, Millions) Discounted @ 10%||CN¥457||CN¥495||CN¥750||CN¥1.0k||CN¥1.2k||CN¥1.3k||CN¥1.3k||CN¥1.3k||CN¥1.3k||CN¥1.2k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CN¥10b
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. 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 10%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CN¥3.2b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (10%– 2.0%) = CN¥41b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CN¥41b÷ ( 1 + 10%)10= CN¥16b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is CN¥26b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$28.4, the company appears quite good value at a 46% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.
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 Niu 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 10%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.496. 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 is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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 example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Niu Technologies, we've put together three pertinent factors you should further research:
- Risks: As an example, we've found 2 warning signs for Niu Technologies that you need to consider before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does NIU'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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NASDAQGM 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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