Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of NetSol Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTWK) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Crunching the numbers
We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. To start off with, we need to estimate the next ten years of cash flows. Seeing as no analyst estimates of free cash flow are available to us, we have extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the company's last 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
Levered FCF ($, Millions)
Growth Rate Estimate Source
Est @ 9.8%
Est @ 7.53%
Est @ 5.94%
Est @ 4.82%
Est @ 4.04%
Est @ 3.49%
Est @ 3.11%
Est @ 2.84%
Est @ 2.66%
Est @ 2.53%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.3%
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$16m
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 (2.2%) 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 9.3%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$3.1m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (9.3%– 2.2%) = US$45m
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$45m÷ ( 1 + 9.3%)10= US$18m
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$34m. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$2.8, the company appears about fair value at a 4.5% 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.
We would point out that the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate and of course the actual 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 NetSol 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 9.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.182. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it 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 NetSol Technologies, we've compiled three additional factors you should consider:
Risks: To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with NetSol Technologies .
Other Solid Businesses: Low debt, high returns on equity and good past performance are fundamental to a strong business. Why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals to see if there are other companies you may not have considered!
Other Top Analyst Picks: Interested to see what the analysts are thinking? Take a look at our interactive list of analysts' top stock picks to find out what they feel might have an attractive future outlook!
PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NASDAQCM every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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