Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE:KNX) Shares Could Be 31% Below Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 12, 2022
NYSE:KNX
Source: Shutterstock

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings Inc. (NYSE:KNX) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings

The calculation

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. 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.

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) forecast

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$808.4m US$700.7m US$640.3m US$605.3m US$585.7m US$575.7m US$572.2m US$573.1m US$577.0m US$583.0m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Est @ -8.62% Est @ -5.46% Est @ -3.25% Est @ -1.7% Est @ -0.61% Est @ 0.15% Est @ 0.68% Est @ 1.05%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.7% US$758 US$616 US$528 US$468 US$424 US$391 US$364 US$342 US$323 US$306

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$4.5b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. 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 1.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$583m× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (6.7%– 1.9%) = US$13b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$13b÷ ( 1 + 6.7%)10= US$6.6b

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$11b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$46.3, the company appears quite undervalued at a 31% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope - move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.

dcf
NYSE:KNX Discounted Cash Flow April 12th 2022

The assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the cash flows. If you don't agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings 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 6.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.120. 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.

Looking Ahead:

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. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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 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 sitting below the intrinsic value? For Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings, there are three additional items you should consider:

  1. Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings you should know about.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for KNX's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

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