How far off is Avantor, Inc. (NYSE:AVTR) 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. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.
We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.
We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. 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$1.16b||US$1.35b||US$900.0m||US$960.0m||US$900.9m||US$867.4m||US$849.9m||US$843.0m||US$843.3m||US$848.4m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x5||Analyst x4||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ -6.16%||Est @ -3.72%||Est @ -2.01%||Est @ -0.81%||Est @ 0.03%||Est @ 0.61%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.3%||US$1.1k||US$1.2k||US$728||US$724||US$633||US$568||US$519||US$479||US$447||US$419|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$6.8b
The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after 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 2.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.3%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$848m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.3%– 2.0%) = US$16b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$16b÷ ( 1 + 7.3%)10= US$8.0b
The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$15b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$20.8, the company appears about fair value at a 5.3% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.
Now 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 Avantor 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 7.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.140. 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 Avantor
- Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.
- Debt is well covered by earnings.
- Shareholders have been diluted in the past year.
- Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.
- Current share price is below our estimate of fair value.
- Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.
- 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 shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching 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. For Avantor, we've compiled three further aspects you should explore:
- Risks: Be aware that Avantor is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit concerning...
- Future Earnings: How does AVTR'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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.
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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.
Avantor, Inc. provides products and services to customers in biopharma, healthcare, education and government, advanced technologies, and applied materials industries in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Proven track record with mediocre balance sheet.