Stock Analysis

Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:ZBRA) Shares Could Be 48% Below Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

NasdaqGS:ZBRA
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In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:ZBRA) by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

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. 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.

Check out the opportunities and risks within the US Electronic industry.

Is Zebra Technologies Fairly Valued?

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 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.

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) estimate

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$902.9m US$1.16b US$1.37b US$1.52b US$1.62b US$1.71b US$1.79b US$1.85b US$1.91b US$1.97b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x8 Analyst x5 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 6.97% Est @ 5.47% Est @ 4.42% Est @ 3.69% Est @ 3.18% Est @ 2.82%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.9% US$836 US$996 US$1.1k US$1.1k US$1.1k US$1.1k US$1.0k US$1.0k US$961 US$915

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

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 (2.0%) 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 7.9%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.0b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.9%– 2.0%) = US$34b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$34b÷ ( 1 + 7.9%)10= US$16b

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$26b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$262, the company appears quite undervalued at a 48% 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.

dcf
NasdaqGS:ZBRA Discounted Cash Flow November 16th 2022

Important Assumptions

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 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 7.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.164. 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 and cashflows.
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
  • Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Next Steps:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Zebra Technologies, we've put together three fundamental items you should assess:

  1. Risks: For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Zebra Technologies that you should be aware of before investing here.
  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.