With the WWDC set for June 9-13 and the current (AAPL) share price of $186.10 - we are being asked about whether we see a $200 share price for AAPL in the near term. Now the AAPL share price may reach $200 in the near future – there are a lot of Apple fans out there. Our concern is what business fundamentals would be required to make this $200 appear a reasonable price?
At Valuecruncher we decided to have a look at the underlying financial performance of AAPL required to get to a $200 share price using our models. We have used the Valuecruncher interactive tool for analyzing the company. That means that anyone can follow the links below and amend our valuations. We started by creating a base case valuation of AAPL – using assumptions we believe are reasonable.
AAPL Base Case
Our assumptions are revenues of US$32.8 billion in 2008 growing to US$48.0 billion in 2010. We have used a flat EBITDA margin of 21% from 2008. We have used a terminal growth rate of 5.75%. We calculated that using a present value calculation with the growth rate dropping from 17.5% in 2011 to 3.5% in 2015 (the current projected growth from 2009 to 2010 is 18-20%). We used a terminal capital expenditure number of US$900 million. We have used a WACC (discount rate) of 11.0%.
Our analysis gives a share price of $146.70 which is approximately 21% below the current share price of $186.10.
AAPL At $200
To move the valuation we looked at three key levers:
1. The discount rate (or weighted average cost of capital – WACC). This is a measure of the variability (both up and down) of the cash flows generated by AAPL. The more variable the cash flows the higher the discount rate. Because we are trying to get the valuation to $200 we looked at lowering the discount rate from our base case 11.0%. If we lower the base case discount rate to 10.0% (keeping all the other assumptions constant) we increase our valuation to $175.53 (a 20% increase – but still below the current share price).
2. The terminal growth (the rate of growth into the future beyond our three-year forecast period). At Valuecruncher we use a present value calculation to determine this growth rate (the present value of five years of cash flows beyond our three years of forecasts and an economy wide terminal rate – 3.5%). In our base case the 2009 to 2010 growth rate is expected to be 18-20% - based on analyst estimates. We used a 17.5% growth rate in 2011 dropping to a terminal rate of 3.5% from 2015. In this case we used a 25% growth rate in 2011 (this is above current 2009/10 forecasts of 18-20%) dropping to a terminal rate of 3.5% in 2015 – this gives a terminal growth rate of 6.25% compared to 5.75% in the base case. If we increase the terminal growth rate to 6.25% (keeping all the other assumptions constant) we increase our valuation to $159.11 (an 8% increase).
3. The terminal capital expenditure (CAPEX). This is the investment in plant, equipment and technology needed to maintain and grow the cash produced by the business expressed in revenues and profits. In our base case we used a US$900 million terminal CAPEX number. If we reduce this by US$100 million we increase our valuation to $148.49 (a 1% increase).
However if we adjust all three of these levers at the same time – discount rate to 10%, terminal growth to 6.25% and terminal CAPEX to US$800 million (while keeping all the other base case assumptions constant) – we do get close to $200 a share. The combination of those adjustments to our base case valuation is shown in the link below to a new valuation created using the Valuecruncher valuation tool. The result is a valuation of $197.63 – this is 35% above our base case valuation and 6% above the current share price.
Our view is that this adjusted valuation appears optimistic. Play with our assumptions - what does your analysis say?