Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Rapid7, Inc. (NASDAQ:RPD) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.
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 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.
We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$14.5m||US$34.2m||US$69.0m||US$99.4m||US$130.6m||US$160.1m||US$186.3m||US$208.8m||US$227.7m||US$243.5m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x3||Analyst x3||Analyst x1||Est @ 44.02%||Est @ 31.41%||Est @ 22.58%||Est @ 16.4%||Est @ 12.08%||Est @ 9.05%||Est @ 6.93%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.9%||US$13.6||US$30.0||US$56.6||US$76.2||US$93.7||US$108||US$117||US$123||US$125||US$126|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$868m
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 2.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.9%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$244m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (6.9%– 2.0%) = US$5.1b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$5.1b÷ ( 1 + 6.9%)10= US$2.6b
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$3.5b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$78.8, the company appears slightly overvalued at the time of writing. 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.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Rapid7 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 6.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.031. 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. 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 lower than the current share price? For Rapid7, we've compiled three further elements you should assess:
- Risks: For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Rapid7 (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does RPD'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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NASDAQGM every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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