How far off is US Ecology Inc (NASDAQ:ECOL) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, I am going to take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced using the discounted cash flows (DCF) model. If you want to learn more about this method, the basis for my calculations can be found in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model. If you are reading this after February 2018 then I highly recommend you check out the latest calculation for US Ecology here.
Crunching the numbers
I use what is known as the 2-stage 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. Firstly, I pulled together the analyst consensus estimates of ECOL’s levered free cash flow (FCF) over the next five years and discounted these values at the cost of equity of 8.49%. This resulted in a present value of 5-year cash flow of $264.1M. Keen to understand how I arrived at this number? Take a look at our detailed analysis here.
The infographic above illustrates how ECOL’s top and bottom lines are expected to move going forward, which should give you some color on ECOL’s outlook. Next, I calculate the terminal value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after the five years. I’ve decided to use the 10-year government bond rate of 2.8% as the perpetual growth rate, which is rightly below GDP growth, but more towards the conservative side. The present value of the terminal value after discounting it back five years is $953.9M.
The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next five years and the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is $1,218.0M. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. This results in an intrinsic value of $55.80, which, compared to the current share price of $50.45, we see that US Ecology is about right, perhaps slightly undervalued at a 9.59% discount to what it is available for right now.
Although the valuation of a company is important, it shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company.
For ECOL, I’ve compiled three key factors you should further research:
- 1. Financial Health: Does ECOL have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
- 2. Future Earnings: How does ECOL’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.
- 2. Other High Quality Alternatives: Are there other high quality stocks you could be holding instead of ECOL? 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 for every stock on the NASDAQ every 6 hours. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
To help readers see pass 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.