Stock Analysis

Cohu, Inc. (NASDAQ:COHU) Shares Could Be 30% Below Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

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NasdaqGS:COHU
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Does the December share price for Cohu, Inc. (NASDAQ:COHU) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value 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.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

View our latest analysis for Cohu

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. 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 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$113.9m US$129.0m US$141.7m US$152.3m US$161.2m US$168.7m US$175.2m US$181.0m US$186.3m US$191.2m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Est @ 18.02% Est @ 13.21% Est @ 9.84% Est @ 7.48% Est @ 5.83% Est @ 4.68% Est @ 3.87% Est @ 3.3% Est @ 2.9% Est @ 2.63%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.2% US$105 US$110 US$112 US$111 US$108 US$105 US$101 US$96.0 US$91.3 US$86.6

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.0b

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 2.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 8.2%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$191m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (8.2%– 2.0%) = US$3.1b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$3.1b÷ ( 1 + 8.2%)10= US$1.4b

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$2.4b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$35.5, the company appears quite good value at a 30% 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
NasdaqGS:COHU Discounted Cash Flow December 6th 2022

The Assumptions

Now 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 Cohu 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 8.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.221. 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 Cohu

Strength
  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.
Weakness
  • Earnings declined over the past year.
Opportunity
  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.
Threat
  • Annual earnings are forecast to decline for the next 3 years.

Looking Ahead:

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. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Cohu, we've compiled three additional elements you should look at:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Cohu (at least 1 which shouldn't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for COHU's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  3. 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. 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 Cohu 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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