Stock Analysis

Is There An Opportunity With Lam Research Corporation's (NASDAQ:LRCX) 47% Undervaluation?

NasdaqGS:LRCX
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Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ:LRCX) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Our analysis indicates that LRCX is potentially undervalued!

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. 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) forecast

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$5.94b US$3.63b US$4.40b US$5.39b US$6.04b US$6.51b US$6.91b US$7.25b US$7.54b US$7.79b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x7 Analyst x5 Analyst x5 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 7.89% Est @ 6.12% Est @ 4.87% Est @ 4.01% Est @ 3.4%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.8% US$5.5k US$3.1k US$3.5k US$4.0k US$4.1k US$4.1k US$4.1k US$4.0k US$3.8k US$3.7k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$40b

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 7.8%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$7.8b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.8%– 2.0%) = US$137b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$137b÷ ( 1 + 7.8%)10= US$64b

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$104b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$408, the company appears quite undervalued at a 47% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
NasdaqGS:LRCX Discounted Cash Flow November 1st 2022

Important 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 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 7.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.244. 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:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching 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. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Lam Research, we've compiled three additional elements you should consider:

  1. Risks: Be aware that Lam Research is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those can't be ignored...
  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.

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.