- The projected fair value for Comfort Systems USA is US$150 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity
- Comfort Systems USA's US$199 share price signals that it might be 33% overvalued
- Analyst price target for FIX is US$198, which is 32% above our fair value estimate
Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Comfort Systems USA, Inc. (NYSE:FIX) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.
See our latest analysis for Comfort Systems USA
We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. To start off with, we need to estimate the next ten years of cash flows. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)
|Growth Rate Estimate Source
|Est @ -11.24%
|Est @ -7.20%
|Est @ -4.38%
|Est @ -2.40%
|Est @ -1.01%
|Est @ -0.04%
|Est @ 0.64%
|Est @ 1.11%
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.3%
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.2b
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. 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 7.3%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$311m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (7.3%– 2.2%) = US$6.3b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$6.3b÷ ( 1 + 7.3%)10= US$3.1b
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$5.3b. 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$199, the company appears potentially overvalued at the time of writing. 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.
Now 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 Comfort Systems USA 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 7.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.013. 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 Comfort Systems USA
- Earnings growth over the past year exceeded its 5-year average.
- Debt is not viewed as a risk.
- Balance sheet summary for FIX.
- Earnings growth over the past year underperformed the Construction industry.
- Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Construction market.
- Expensive based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
- Annual revenue is forecast to grow faster than the American market.
- Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.
- What else are analysts forecasting for FIX?
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. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Why is the intrinsic value lower than the current share price? For Comfort Systems USA, there are three relevant factors you should assess:
- Risks: For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Comfort Systems USA that you should be aware of before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does FIX'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.
- 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.
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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.