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An Intrinsic Calculation For Arko Corp. (NASDAQ:ARKO) Suggests It's 49% Undervalued

Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for Arko is US$15.20 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity

  • Arko's US$7.69 share price signals that it might be 49% undervalued

  • Our fair value estimate is 48% higher than Arko's analyst price target of US$10.25

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Arko Corp. (NASDAQ:ARKO) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Believe it or not, it's not too difficult to follow, as you'll see from our example!

We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for Arko

Step By Step Through The Calculation

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 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

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

2033

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$94.1m

US$91.7m

US$184.6m

US$197.4m

US$207.3m

US$215.9m

US$223.6m

US$230.7m

US$237.4m

US$243.7m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x2

Analyst x2

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Est @ 4.99%

Est @ 4.16%

Est @ 3.58%

Est @ 3.17%

Est @ 2.89%

Est @ 2.69%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 12%

US$83.9

US$72.8

US$131

US$124

US$116

US$108

US$99.8

US$91.7

US$84.1

US$77.0

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$989m

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 2.2%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 12%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$244m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (12%– 2.2%) = US$2.5b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$2.5b÷ ( 1 + 12%)10= US$787m

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$1.8b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$7.7, the company appears quite undervalued at a 49% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.

dcf
dcf

The Assumptions

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. 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 Arko 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 12%, which is based on a levered beta of 2.000. 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.

SWOT Analysis for Arko

Strength

  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.

Weakness

  • Earnings declined over the past year.

  • Interest payments on debt are not well covered.

  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Specialty Retail market.

Opportunity

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.

  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.

Threat

  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.

  • Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Moving On:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Arko, we've compiled three essential aspects you should assess:

  1. Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 3 warning signs for Arko you should be aware of, and 1 of them is concerning.

  2. Future Earnings: How does ARKO'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. 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.

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.

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