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Calculating The Intrinsic Value Of Autohome Inc. (NYSE:ATHM)

Simply Wall St ·  10/20/2023 18:00

Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, Autohome fair value estimate is US$30.80
  • With US$27.10 share price, Autohome appears to be trading close to its estimated fair value
  • Analyst price target for ATHM is CN¥37.95, which is 23% above our fair value estimate

Does the October share price for Autohome Inc. (NYSE:ATHM) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. 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. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

Check out our latest analysis for Autohome

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 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

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033
Levered FCF (CN¥, Millions) CN¥2.55b CN¥2.73b CN¥1.91b CN¥1.87b CN¥1.86b CN¥1.86b CN¥1.88b CN¥1.90b CN¥1.93b CN¥1.96b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Est @ -1.90% Est @ -0.68% Est @ 0.17% Est @ 0.76% Est @ 1.18% Est @ 1.47% Est @ 1.67%
Present Value (CN¥, Millions) Discounted @ 8.5% CN¥2.4k CN¥2.3k CN¥1.5k CN¥1.4k CN¥1.2k CN¥1.1k CN¥1.1k CN¥990 CN¥926 CN¥868

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CN¥14b

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 8.5%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CN¥2.0b× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (8.5%– 2.2%) = CN¥32b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CN¥32b÷ ( 1 + 8.5%)10= CN¥14b

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is CN¥28b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$27.1, the company appears about fair value at a 12% 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
NYSE:ATHM Discounted Cash Flow October 20th 2023

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. 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 Autohome 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 8.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.043. 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 Autohome

Strength
  • Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.
  • Currently debt free.
  • Balance sheet summary for ATHM.
Weakness
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Interactive Media and Services market.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.
  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
Threat
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.
  • What else are analysts forecasting for ATHM?

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, 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. 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. For Autohome, we've compiled three additional items you should assess:

  1. Risks: We feel that you should assess the 1 warning sign for Autohome we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
  2. Future Earnings: How does ATHM'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. 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.

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.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement of any specific investment or investment strategy. Read more
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