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Is There An Opportunity With Littelfuse, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:LFUS) 26% Undervaluation?

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·5 min read
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Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Littelfuse, Inc. (NASDAQ:LFUS) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Believe it or not, it's not too difficult to follow, as you'll see from our example!

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 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.

View our latest analysis for Littelfuse

Crunching the numbers

We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. To start off with, we need to estimate 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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$220.0m

US$326.1m

US$320.0m

US$384.6m

US$422.4m

US$450.3m

US$473.9m

US$494.1m

US$511.8m

US$527.7m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x1

Analyst x3

Analyst x2

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Est @ 6.63%

Est @ 5.23%

Est @ 4.26%

Est @ 3.58%

Est @ 3.1%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.0%

US$206

US$285

US$261

US$293

US$301

US$300

US$295

US$287

US$278

US$268

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.8b

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 (2.0%) 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 7.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$528m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.0%– 2.0%) = US$11b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$11b÷ ( 1 + 7.0%)10= US$5.4b

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$8.2b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$246, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 26% 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

Important 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. Part of investing is coming up with your own evaluation of a company's future performance, so try the calculation yourself and check your own 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 Littelfuse 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 7.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.064. 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.

Looking Ahead:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Littelfuse, we've put together three relevant items you should further examine:

  1. Risks: Be aware that Littelfuse is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

  2. Future Earnings: How does LFUS'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 NASDAQGS 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.

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