- United States
- Commercial Services
Are Investors Undervaluing UniFirst Corporation (NYSE:UNF) By 34%?
How far off is UniFirst Corporation (NYSE:UNF) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
See our latest analysis for UniFirst
Step By Step Through The Calculation
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.
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
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$72.1m||US$132.9m||US$184.5m||US$235.7m||US$283.0m||US$324.4m||US$359.7m||US$389.4m||US$414.2m||US$435.3m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Est @ 38.77%||Est @ 27.76%||Est @ 20.05%||Est @ 14.66%||Est @ 10.88%||Est @ 8.24%||Est @ 6.39%||Est @ 5.09%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.4%||US$67.1||US$115||US$149||US$177||US$198||US$211||US$218||US$220||US$218||US$213|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.8b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 (2.1%) 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 7.4%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$435m× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (7.4%– 2.1%) = US$8.3b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$8.3b÷ ( 1 + 7.4%)10= US$4.1b
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$5.9b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$205, the company appears quite undervalued at a 34% 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 UniFirst 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 0.899. 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.
SWOT Analysis for UniFirst
- Currently debt free.
- Earnings declined over the past year.
- Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Commercial Services market.
- Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.
- Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.
- Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the American market.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For UniFirst, there are three important elements you should assess:
- Risks: Be aware that UniFirst is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...
- Future Earnings: How does UNF'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 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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.
Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.
Find out whether UniFirst is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.View the Free Analysis
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
UniFirst Corporation provides workplace uniforms and protective work wear clothing in the United States, Europe, and Canada.
Flawless balance sheet and fair value.