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Should You Care About Flowers Foods Inc’s (NYSE:FLO) Cash Levels?

Thomas Auclair

Two important questions to ask before you buy Flowers Foods Inc (NYSE:FLO) is, how it makes money and how it spends its cash. What is left after investment, determines the value of the stock since this cash flow technically belongs to investors of the company. Today we will examine FLO’s ability to generate cash flows, as well as the level of capital expenditure it is expected to incur over the next couple of years, which will result in how much money goes to you.

View our latest analysis for Flowers Foods

What is free cash flow?

Flowers Foods generates cash through its day-to-day business, which needs to be reinvested into the company in order for it to continue operating. What remains after this expenditure, is known as its free cash flow, or FCF, for short.

There are two methods I will use to evaluate the quality of Flowers Foods’s FCF: firstly, I will measure its FCF yield relative to the market index yield; secondly, I will examine whether its operating cash flow will continue to grow into the future, which will give us a sense of sustainability.

Free Cash Flow = Operating Cash Flows – Net Capital Expenditure

Free Cash Flow Yield = Free Cash Flow / Enterprise Value

where Enterprise Value = Market Capitalisation + Net Debt

Flowers Foods’s yield of 4.23% indicates its sub-standard capacity to generate cash, compared to the stock market index as a whole, accounting for the size differential. This means investors are taking on more concentrated risk on Flowers Foods but are not being adequately rewarded for doing so.

NYSE:FLO Net Worth August 25th 18

Is Flowers Foods’s yield sustainable?

Does FLO’s future look brighter in terms of its ability to generate higher operating cash flows? This can be estimated by examining the trend of the company’s operating cash flow moving forward. In the next couple of years, the company is expected to grow its cash from operations at a double-digit rate of 42.8%, ramping up from its current levels of US$273.0m to US$389.8m in two years’ time. Although this seems impressive, breaking down into year-on-year growth rates, FLO’s operating cash flow growth is expected to decline from a rate of 31.6% next year, to 8.5% in the following year. But the overall future outlook seems buoyant if FLO can maintain its levels of capital expenditure as well.

Next Steps:

The company’s low yield relative to the market index means you are taking on more risk holding the single-stock Flowers Foods as opposed to the diversified market portfolio, and being compensated for less. Though the high operating cash flow growth in the future could change this. Now you know to keep cash flows in mind, I recommend you continue to research Flowers Foods to get a more holistic view of the company by looking at:

  1. Valuation: What is FLO worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether FLO is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Management Team: An experienced management team on the helm increases our confidence in the business – take a look at who sits on Flowers Foods’s board and the CEO’s back ground.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: If you believe you should cushion your portfolio with something less risky, scroll through our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.