Stock Analysis

Calculating The Intrinsic Value Of Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX)

NasdaqGS:LRCX
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In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Believe it or not, it's not too difficult to follow, as you'll see from our example!

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.

See our latest analysis for Lam Research

The Method

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.

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$5.67b US$3.21b US$4.17b US$5.07b US$5.95b US$6.59b US$7.14b US$7.59b US$7.98b US$8.31b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x9 Analyst x8 Analyst x7 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 10.85% Est @ 8.22% Est @ 6.37% Est @ 5.08% Est @ 4.18%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.7% US$5.2k US$2.7k US$3.2k US$3.5k US$3.7k US$3.8k US$3.7k US$3.6k US$3.5k US$3.3k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$36b

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 (2.1%) 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 9.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$8.3b× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (9.7%– 2.1%) = US$111b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$111b÷ ( 1 + 9.7%)10= US$44b

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$80b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$516, the company appears about fair value at a 13% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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.

dcf
NasdaqGS:LRCX Discounted Cash Flow February 10th 2023

Important 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. 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 Lam Research 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 9.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.291. 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 Lam Research

Strength
  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.
  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.
Weakness
  • Earnings growth over the past year underperformed the Semiconductor industry.
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Semiconductor market.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.
  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
Threat
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Looking Ahead:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching 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. For Lam Research, we've put together three additional factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Lam Research that you should be aware of before investing here.
  2. Future Earnings: How does LRCX'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 Lam Research 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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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.