In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of IPG Photonics Corporation (NASDAQ:IPGP) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.
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.
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. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. 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$187.4m||US$293.1m||US$301.4m||US$344.2m||US$416.9m||US$455.0m||US$486.9m||US$513.6m||US$536.4m||US$556.3m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x3||Analyst x3||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 9.15%||Est @ 7%||Est @ 5.5%||Est @ 4.44%||Est @ 3.71%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.4%||US$175||US$254||US$243||US$259||US$292||US$297||US$295||US$290||US$282||US$273|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.7b
After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond 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 7.4%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$556m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.4%– 2.0%) = US$10b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$10b÷ ( 1 + 7.4%)10= US$5.1b
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$7.8b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$196, the company appears reasonably expensive 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.
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 IPG Photonics 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 7.4%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.145. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. 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. What is the reason for the share price exceeding the intrinsic value? For IPG Photonics, there are three relevant items you should look at:
- Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with IPG Photonics , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for IPGP's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- 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 NASDAQGS every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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