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Is There An Opportunity With LKQ Corporation's (NASDAQ:LKQ) 28% Undervaluation?

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·5 min read
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  • LKQ

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of LKQ Corporation (NASDAQ:LKQ) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. 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 LKQ

The method

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.

Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$1.05b

US$1.16b

US$1.19b

US$1.24b

US$1.28b

US$1.31b

US$1.35b

US$1.38b

US$1.41b

US$1.44b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x4

Analyst x4

Analyst x3

Analyst x2

Est @ 3.21%

Est @ 2.83%

Est @ 2.57%

Est @ 2.39%

Est @ 2.26%

Est @ 2.17%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.0%

US$980

US$1.0k

US$970

US$945

US$911

US$876

US$840

US$804

US$769

US$734

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$8.8b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. 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)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.4b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.0%– 2.0%) = US$29b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$29b÷ ( 1 + 7.0%)10= US$15b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$24b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$58.5, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 28% 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.

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. 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 LKQ 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 1.142. 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.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For LKQ, we've put together three essential factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: You should be aware of the 2 warning signs for LKQ we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.

  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for LKQ's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.

  3. 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!

PS. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

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.

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

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