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Calculating The Fair Value Of Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc. (NASDAQ:USAP)

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·5 min read
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How far off is Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc. (NASDAQ:USAP) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

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.

View our latest analysis for Universal Stainless & Alloy Products

Step by step through the calculation

We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

-US$10.5m

US$6.04m

US$6.05m

US$6.10m

US$6.17m

US$6.25m

US$6.35m

US$6.45m

US$6.57m

US$6.69m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Est @ 0.23%

Est @ 0.75%

Est @ 1.11%

Est @ 1.37%

Est @ 1.55%

Est @ 1.67%

Est @ 1.76%

Est @ 1.82%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.9%

-US$9.7

US$5.1

US$4.7

US$4.3

US$4.0

US$3.8

US$3.5

US$3.3

US$3.1

US$2.9

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$24m

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after 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 8.9%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$6.7m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (8.9%– 2.0%) = US$99m

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$99m÷ ( 1 + 8.9%)10= US$42m

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$66m. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$8.6, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
dcf

Important 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 Universal Stainless & Alloy Products 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 8.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.577. 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.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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. For Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, there are three pertinent items you should consider:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Universal Stainless & Alloy Products (at least 2 which are concerning) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

  2. Future Earnings: How does USAP'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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.