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Should You Care About ASOS Plc’s (LON:ASC) Cash Levels?

Raj Burman

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If you are currently a shareholder in ASOS Plc (LON:ASC), or considering investing in the stock, you need to examine how the business generates cash, and how it is reinvested. What is left after investment, determines the value of the stock since this cash flow technically belongs to investors of the company. Today we will examine ASC’s ability to generate cash flows, as well as the level of capital expenditure it is expected to incur over the next couple of years, which will result in how much money goes to you.

View our latest analysis for ASOS

What is free cash flow?

ASOS generates cash through its day-to-day business, which needs to be reinvested into the company in order for it to continue operating. What remains after this expenditure, is known as its free cash flow, or FCF, for short.

There are two methods I will use to evaluate the quality of ASOS’s FCF: firstly, I will measure its FCF yield relative to the market index yield; secondly, I will examine whether its operating cash flow will continue to grow into the future, which will give us a sense of sustainability.

Free Cash Flow = Operating Cash Flows – Net Capital Expenditure

Free Cash Flow Yield = Free Cash Flow / Enterprise Value

where Enterprise Value = Market Capitalisation + Net Debt

The business reinvests all its cash profits as well as borrows more money, to maintain and grow the company. This leads to a negative FCF, as well as negative FCF yield, in which case is not a very useful measure.

AIM:ASC Net Worth February 7th 19

What’s the cash flow outlook for ASOS?

Does ASOS’s future look brighter in terms of its ability to generate higher operating cash flows? This can be estimated by examining the trend of the company’s operating cash flow going forward. In the next few years, a doubling in growth of operating cash flows, from current levels of UK£94m, is extremely uplifting especially if capital expenditure grows at a lower rate. Although this seems impressive, breaking down into year-on-year growth rates, ASC’s operating cash flow growth is expected to decline from a rate of 46% in the upcoming year, to 28% by the end of the third year.

Next Steps:

Keep in mind that cash is only one aspect of investment analysis and there are other important fundamentals to assess. I recommend you continue to research ASOS to get a better picture of the company by looking at:

  1. Valuation: What is ASC worth today? Is the stock undervalued, even when its growth outlook is factored into its intrinsic value? The intrinsic value infographic in our free research report helps visualize whether ASC is currently mispriced by the market.
  2. Management Team: An experienced management team on the helm increases our confidence in the business – take a look at who sits on ASOS’s board and the CEO’s back ground.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: If you believe you should cushion your portfolio with something less risky, scroll through our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.