With EMC Corp. (EMC) off its highs achieved in late March of this year, we wanted to provide our thoughts on the firm's valuation and discuss whether the company fits the Value-Momentum style of investing.
Our Report on EMC Corp
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EMC Corp's business quality (an evaluation of our ValueCreation™ and ValueRisk™ ratings) ranks among the best of the firms in our coverage universe. The firm has been generating economic value for shareholders with relatively stable operating results for the past few years, a combination we view very positively.
The company looks fairly valued at this time. We expect the firm to trade within our fair value estimate range for the time being. If the firm's share price fell below $23, we'd take a closer look at adding it to the market-beating portfolio of our Best Ideas Newsletter (please see links on our left sidebar for more information).
EMC Corp has an excellent combination of strong free cash flow generation and low financial leverage. We expect the firm's free cash flow margin to average about 18.8% in coming years. Total debt-to-EBITDA was 0.3 last year, while debt-to-book capitalization stood at 8.3%.
The firm's share price performance has been roughly in line with that of the market during the past quarter. We'd expect the firm's stock price to converge to our fair value estimate within the next three years, if our forecasts prove accurate.
The firm experienced a revenue CAGR of about 10.4% during the past 3 years. We expect its revenue growth to be better than its peer median during the next five years.
Economic Profit Analysis
The best measure of a firm's ability to create value for shareholders is expressed by comparing its return on invested capital (ROIC) with its weighted average cost of capital (OTC:WACC). The gap or difference between ROIC and WACC is called the firm's economic profit spread. EMC Corp's 3-year historical return on invested capital (without goodwill) is 133.1%, which is above the estimate of its cost of capital of 10.6%. As such, we assign the firm a ValueCreation™ rating of EXCELLENT. In the chart below, we show the probable path of ROIC in the years ahead based on the estimated volatility of key drivers behind the measure. The solid grey line reflects the most likely outcome, in our opinion, and represents the scenario that results in our fair value estimate.
Cash Flow Analysis
Firms that generate a free cash flow margin (free cash flow divided by total revenue) above 5% are usually considered cash cows. EMC Corp's free cash flow margin has averaged about 20.3% during the past 3 years. As such, we think the firm's cash flow generation is relatively STRONG. The free cash flow measure shown above is derived by taking cash flow from operations less capital expenditures and differs from enterprise free cash flow (FCFF), which we use in deriving our fair value estimate for the company. At EMC Corp, cash flow from operations increased about 70% from levels registered two years ago, while capital expenditures expanded about 74% over the same time period.
Our discounted cash flow model indicates that EMC Corp's shares are worth between $23.00 - $35.00 each. The margin of safety around our fair value estimate is driven by the firm's LOW ValueRisk™ rating, which is derived from the historical volatility of key valuation drivers. The estimated fair value of $29 per share represents a price-toearnings
(P/E) ratio of about 26.3 times last year's earnings and an implied
EV/EBITDA multiple of about 12.2 times last year's EBITDA. Our model reflects a compound annual revenue growth rate of 8.2% during the next five years, a pace that is lower than the firm's 3-year historical compound annual growth rate of 10.4%. Our model reflects a 5-year projected average operating margin of 24.2%, which is above EMC Corp's trailing 3-year average. Beyond year 5, we assume free cash flow will grow at an annual rate of 2.9% for the next 15 years and 3% in perpetuity. For EMC Corp, we use a 10.6% weighted average cost of capital to discount future free cash flows.
Margin of Safety Analysis
Our discounted cash flow process values each firm on the basis of the present value of all future free cash flows. Although we estimate the firm's fair value at about $29 per share, every company has a range of probable fair values that's created by the uncertainty of key valuation drivers (like future revenue or earnings, for example). After all, if the future was known with certainty, we wouldn't see much volatility in the markets as stocks would trade precisely at their known fair values. Our ValueRisk™ rating sets the margin of safety or the fair value range we assign to each stock. In the graph below, we show this probable range of fair values for EMC Corp. We think the firm is attractive below $23 per share (the green line), but quite expensive above $35 per share (the red line). The prices that fall along the yellow line, which includes our fair value estimate, represent a reasonable valuation for the firm, in our opinion.
Future Path of Fair Value
We estimate EMC Corp's fair value at this point in time to be about $29 per share. As time passes, however, companies generate cash flow and pay out cash to shareholders in the form of dividends. The chart below compares the firm's current share price with the path of EMC Corp's expected equity value per share over the next three years,
assuming our long-term projections prove accurate. The range between the resulting downside fair value and upside fair value in Year 3 represents our best estimate of the value of the firm's shares three years hence. This range of potential outcomes is also subject to change over time, should our views on the firm's future cash flow potential change. The expected fair value of $39 per share in Year 3 represents our existing fair value per share of $29 increased at an annual rate of the firm's cost of equity less its dividend yield. The upside and downside ranges are derived in the same way, but from the upper and lower bounds of our fair value estimate range.
Pro Forma Financial Statements
Disclosure: Rebecca Freese constructed the article. The opinions and analysis of the firms mentioned in this article reflect that of The Valuentum Team. We did not receive compensation from companies mentioned in this article, and we have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.