Stock Analysis

TravelCenters of America Inc. (NASDAQ:TA) Shares Could Be 25% Above Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

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NasdaqGS:TA
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How far off is TravelCenters of America Inc. (NASDAQ:TA) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. This will be done using 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.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for TravelCenters of America

Step By Step Through The Calculation

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. Seeing as no analyst estimates of free cash flow are available to us, we have extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the company's last 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

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$67.7m US$65.1m US$63.7m US$63.2m US$63.1m US$63.5m US$64.1m US$64.9m US$65.9m US$66.9m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Est @ -6.29% Est @ -3.82% Est @ -2.09% Est @ -0.88% Est @ -0.04% Est @ 0.56% Est @ 0.97% Est @ 1.26% Est @ 1.47% Est @ 1.61%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 10% US$61.3 US$53.4 US$47.3 US$42.5 US$38.5 US$35.0 US$32.0 US$29.4 US$27.0 US$24.8

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$391m

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. 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 1.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 10%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$67m× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (10%– 1.9%) = US$805m

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$805m÷ ( 1 + 10%)10= US$299m

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$690m. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$58.3, the company appears slightly overvalued at the time of writing. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope - move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.

dcf
NasdaqGS:TA Discounted Cash Flow August 16th 2022

The Assumptions

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. If you don't agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 TravelCenters of America 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 2.000. 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.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation is only one of many factors that you need to assess 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 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 premium to intrinsic value? For TravelCenters of America, we've put together three pertinent elements you should assess:

  1. Risks: You should be aware of the 1 warning sign for TravelCenters of America we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.
  2. Future Earnings: How does TA'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.
  3. 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. 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 TravelCenters of America 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.

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About NasdaqGS:TA

TravelCenters of America

TravelCenters of America Inc. operates travel centers, truck service facilities, and restaurants in the United States and Canada.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation3
Future Growth0
Past Performance4
Financial Health4
Dividends0

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Adequate balance sheet with proven track record.