Is Medidata Solutions, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:MDSO) Cash Outlook Optimistic?

Medidata Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDSO) shareholders, and potential investors, need to understand how much cash the business makes from its core operational activities, as well as how much is invested back into the business. What is left after investment, determines the value of the stock since this cash flow technically belongs to investors of the company. Today we will examine Medidata Solutions’s ability to generate cash flows, as well as the level of capital expenditure it is expected to incur over the next couple of years, which will result in how much money goes to you.

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What is free cash flow?

Medidata Solutions’s free cash flow (FCF) is the level of cash flow the business generates from its operational activities, after it reinvests in the company as capital expenditure. This type of expense is needed for Medidata Solutions to continue to grow, or at least, maintain its current operations.

The two ways to assess whether Medidata Solutions’s FCF is sufficient, is to compare the FCF yield to the market index yield, as well as determine whether the top-line operating cash flows will continue to grow.

Free Cash Flow = Operating Cash Flows – Net Capital Expenditure

Free Cash Flow Yield = Free Cash Flow / Enterprise Value

where Enterprise Value = Market Capitalisation + Net Debt

Medidata Solutions’s yield of 0.76% indicates its sub-standard capacity to generate cash, compared to the stock market index as a whole, accounting for the size differential. This means investors are taking on more concentrated risk on Medidata Solutions but are not being adequately rewarded for doing so.

NASDAQGS:MDSO Net Worth January 29th 19
NASDAQGS:MDSO Net Worth January 29th 19

Is Medidata Solutions’s yield sustainable?

Another important consideration is whether this return is likely to be maintained over the next couple of years. We can gauge this by looking at Medidata Solutions’s expected operating cash flows. Over the next two years, a double-digit growth in operating cash of 53% is expected. The future seems buoyant if Medidata Solutions can maintain its levels of capital expenditure as well. Below is a table of Medidata Solutions’s operating cash flow in the past year, as well as the anticipated level going forward.
Current +1 year +2 year
Operating Cash Flow (OCF) US$87m US$103m US$134m
OCF Growth Year-On-Year 18% 30%
OCF Growth From Current Year 53%

Next Steps:

Although its positive operating cash flow, and high future growth, is appealing, the low free cash flow yield is unattractive. This is because you would be better compensated in terms of cash yield, by investing in the market index, as well as take on lower diversification risk. However, cash is only one aspect of investing. Now you know to keep cash flows in mind, You should continue to research Medidata Solutions to get a more holistic view of the company by looking at:

  1. Valuation: What is MDSO worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether MDSO is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Management Team: An experienced management team on the helm increases our confidence in the business – take a look at who sits on Medidata Solutions’s board and the CEO’s back ground.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: If you believe you should cushion your portfolio with something less risky, scroll through our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.