Stock Analysis

An Intrinsic Calculation For Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:ZBRA) Suggests It's 28% Undervalued

NasdaqGS:ZBRA
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Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, Zebra Technologies fair value estimate is US$372
  • Zebra Technologies is estimated to be 28% undervalued based on current share price of US$269
  • The US$336 analyst price target for ZBRA is 9.8% less than our estimate of fair value

In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:ZBRA) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for Zebra Technologies

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.

Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$551.6m US$915.9m US$1.07b US$1.10b US$1.36b US$1.48b US$1.59b US$1.68b US$1.75b US$1.82b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x9 Analyst x8 Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ 9.19% Est @ 7.07% Est @ 5.58% Est @ 4.54% Est @ 3.81%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.1% US$506 US$770 US$822 US$774 US$880 US$881 US$865 US$838 US$803 US$764

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$7.9b

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 (2.1%) 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 9.1%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.8b× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (9.1%– 2.1%) = US$27b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$27b÷ ( 1 + 9.1%)10= US$11b

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$19b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$269, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 28% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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.

dcf
NasdaqGS:ZBRA Discounted Cash Flow June 6th 2023

The Assumptions

We would point out that the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate and of course the actual cash flows. You don't have to agree with these inputs, I recommend redoing the calculations yourself and playing with them. 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 Zebra Technologies 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 9.1%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.170. 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.

SWOT Analysis for Zebra Technologies

Strength
  • Debt is well covered by earnings.
Weakness
  • Earnings declined over the past year.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.
  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.
Threat
  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.
  • Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Moving On:

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. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Zebra Technologies, we've compiled three further elements you should consider:

  1. Risks: Take risks, for example - Zebra Technologies has 3 warning signs (and 1 which can't be ignored) we think you should know about.
  2. Future Earnings: How does ZBRA'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 High Quality Alternatives: Do you like a good all-rounder? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

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 Zebra Technologies 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.

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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.