Stock Analysis

Is Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE:AAP) Trading At A 41% Discount?

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NYSE:AAP
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Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE:AAP) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

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. 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.

Our analysis indicates that AAP is potentially undervalued!

What's The Estimated Valuation?

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 start off with, we need to estimate 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) estimate

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$763.7m US$841.6m US$954.0m US$988.0m US$1.02b US$1.04b US$1.07b US$1.09b US$1.12b US$1.14b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x4 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 2.85% Est @ 2.59% Est @ 2.41% Est @ 2.28% Est @ 2.19% Est @ 2.13%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.1% US$706 US$720 US$755 US$723 US$687 US$652 US$618 US$584 US$552 US$522

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$6.5b

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 8.1%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.1b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (8.1%– 2.0%) = US$19b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$19b÷ ( 1 + 8.1%)10= US$8.7b

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$15b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$153, the company appears quite good value at a 41% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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
NYSE:AAP Discounted Cash Flow December 4th 2022

The Assumptions

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 Advance Auto Parts 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 8.1%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.199. 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 Advance Auto Parts

Strength
  • Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.
Weakness
  • Earnings declined over the past year.
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Specialty Retail market.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.
  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.
Threat
  • Dividends are not covered by cash flow.
  • Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, 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. If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Advance Auto Parts, we've put together three relevant factors you should consider:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Advance Auto Parts , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
  2. Future Earnings: How does AAP'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. 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.

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