One Factor To Consider Before Investing In Coherent Inc (NASDAQ:COHR)

Two important questions to ask before you buy Coherent Inc (NASDAQ:COHR) is, how it makes money and how it spends its cash. After investment, what’s left over is what belongs to you, the investor. This also determines how much the stock is worth. I will take you through Coherent’s cash flow health and the risk-return concept based on the stock’s cash flow yield, using the most recent financial data. This will help you think about the company from a cash perspective, which is a crucial factor to investing.

View our latest analysis for Coherent

Is Coherent generating enough cash?

Free cash flow (FCF) is the amount of cash Coherent has left after it pays off its expenses, including its net capital expenditures, which is what the company needs to spend each year to maintain or grow its business operations.

There are two methods I will use to evaluate the quality of Coherent’s FCF: firstly, I will measure its FCF yield relative to the market index yield; secondly, I will examine whether its operating cash flow will continue to grow into the future, which will give us a sense of sustainability.

Free Cash Flow = Operating Cash Flows – Net Capital Expenditure

Free Cash Flow Yield = Free Cash Flow / Enterprise Value

where Enterprise Value = Market Capitalisation + Net Debt

Coherent’s yield of 4.53% indicates its sub-standard capacity to generate cash, compared to the stock market index as a whole, accounting for the size differential. This means investors are taking on more concentrated risk on Coherent but are not being adequately rewarded for doing so.

NasdaqGS:COHR Net Worth December 5th 18
NasdaqGS:COHR Net Worth December 5th 18

Does Coherent have a favourable cash flow trend?

Another important consideration is whether this return is likely to be maintained over the next couple of years. We can gauge this by looking at Coherent’s expected operating cash flows. In the next few years, a double-digit growth in operating cash of 75% is expected. The future seems buoyant if Coherent can maintain its levels of capital expenditure as well. Below is a table of Coherent’s operating cash flow in the past year, as well as the anticipated level going forward.
Current +1 year +2 year +3 year
Operating Cash Flow (OCF) US$236m US$352m US$346m US$414m
OCF Growth Year-On-Year 49% -1.9% 20%
OCF Growth From Current Year 46% 75%

Next Steps:

Although its positive operating cash flow, and high future growth, is appealing, the low free cash flow yield is unattractive. This is because you would be better compensated in terms of cash yield, by investing in the market index, as well as take on lower diversification risk. However, cash is only one aspect of investing. Now you know to keep cash flows in mind, I suggest you continue to research Coherent to get a more holistic view of the company by looking at:

  1. Valuation: What is COHR worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether COHR is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Management Team: An experienced management team on the helm increases our confidence in the business – take a look at who sits on Coherent’s board and the CEO’s back ground.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: If you believe you should cushion your portfolio with something less risky, scroll through our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.