Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CDNS) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
What's The Estimated Valuation?
We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. 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
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$1.31b||US$1.52b||US$1.65b||US$1.86b||US$2.02b||US$2.16b||US$2.27b||US$2.36b||US$2.45b||US$2.52b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x6||Analyst x4||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ 8.53%||Est @ 6.56%||Est @ 5.17%||Est @ 4.2%||Est @ 3.52%||Est @ 3.05%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.2%||US$1.2k||US$1.3k||US$1.4k||US$1.5k||US$1.5k||US$1.5k||US$1.5k||US$1.5k||US$1.4k||US$1.4k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$14b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 6.2%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.5b× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (6.2%– 1.9%) = US$61b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$61b÷ ( 1 + 6.2%)10= US$33b
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$48b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$168, the company appears about fair value at a 3.3% 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.
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 Cadence Design Systems 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 6.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.996. 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.
Whilst important, the DCF calculation 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 instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For Cadence Design Systems, there are three additional aspects you should assess:
- Financial Health: Does CDNS have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
- Future Earnings: How does CDNS'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.
- 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 Cadence Design Systems 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.