- United States
- Life Sciences
Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) Shares Could Be 31% Above Their Intrinsic Value Estimate
- Waters' estimated fair value is US$255 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity
- Current share price of US$334 suggests Waters is 31% overvalued
- Analyst price target for WAT is US$341 which is 34% above our fair value estimate
In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Waters Corporation (NYSE:WAT) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Check out our latest analysis for Waters
We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$707.4m||US$762.0m||US$852.6m||US$894.8m||US$928.0m||US$957.7m||US$984.7m||US$1.01b||US$1.03b||US$1.06b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x7||Analyst x7||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ 3.71%||Est @ 3.19%||Est @ 2.83%||Est @ 2.57%||Est @ 2.40%||Est @ 2.27%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.7%||US$657||US$657||US$683||US$666||US$641||US$614||US$587||US$559||US$531||US$505|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$6.1b
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 7.7%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.1b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.7%– 2.0%) = US$19b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$19b÷ ( 1 + 7.7%)10= US$9.0b
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$334, the company appears reasonably expensive at the time of writing. 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.
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 Waters 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 7.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.948. 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 Waters
- Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.
- Earnings growth over the past year underperformed the Life Sciences industry.
- Expensive based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
- Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 4 years.
- Annual earnings are 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 ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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 premium to intrinsic value? For Waters, we've put together three essential factors you should consider:
- Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Waters , and understanding it should be part of your investment process.
- Future Earnings: How does WAT'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.
Find out whether Waters 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.
Waters Corporation, a specialty measurement company, provides analytical workflow solutions in Asia, the Americas, and Europe.
Mediocre balance sheet and slightly overvalued.