Does the April share price for Littelfuse, Inc. (NASDAQ:LFUS) reflect what it’s really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock’s intrinsic value by estimating the company’s future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they’re fairly easy to follow.
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company’s value, and a DCF is just one method. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
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.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today’s dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$326.0m||US$356.0m||US$378.2m||US$396.9m||US$413.0m||US$427.0m||US$439.7m||US$451.3m||US$462.3m||US$472.8m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 6.25%||Est @ 4.95%||Est @ 4.04%||Est @ 3.4%||Est @ 2.96%||Est @ 2.65%||Est @ 2.43%||Est @ 2.28%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.9%||US$305||US$311||US$310||US$304||US$296||US$286||US$275||US$264||US$253||US$242|
(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.8b
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. 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 6.9%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$473m× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (6.9%– 1.9%) = US$9.7b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$9.7b÷ ( 1 + 6.9%)10= US$5.0b
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. Relative to the current share price of US$232, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 27% 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.
Now 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 Littelfuse 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 6.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.176. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, 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 example, changes in the company’s cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Littelfuse, we’ve compiled three relevant factors you should assess:
- Risks: We feel that you should assess the 1 warning sign for Littelfuse we’ve flagged before making an investment in the company.
- Future Earnings: How does LFUS’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.
- 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.
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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.