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An Intrinsic Calculation For Sunnova Energy International Inc. (NYSE:NOVA) Suggests It's 22% Undervalued

Key Insights

How far off is Sunnova Energy International Inc. (NYSE:NOVA) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

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View our latest analysis for Sunnova Energy International

The Calculation

We have to calculate the value of Sunnova Energy International slightly differently to other stocks because it is a renewable energy company. In this approach dividends per share (DPS) are used, as free cash flow is difficult to estimate and often not reported by analysts. Unless a company pays out the majority of its FCF as a dividend, this method will typically underestimate the value of the stock. We use the Gordon Growth Model, which assumes dividend will grow into perpetuity at a rate that can be sustained. The dividend is expected to grow at an annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 2.1%. We then discount this figure to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.9%. Relative to the current share price of US$16.3, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 22% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

Value Per Share = Expected Dividend Per Share / (Discount Rate - Perpetual Growth Rate)

= US$1.0 / (6.9% – 2.1%)

= US$21.0

dcf
dcf

Important Assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Sunnova Energy International 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 6.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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 Sunnova Energy International

Strength

  • Debt is well covered by earnings.

Weakness

  • No major weaknesses identified for NOVA.

Opportunity

  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.

Threat

  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.

  • Has less than 3 years of cash runway based on current free cash flow.

  • Not expected to become profitable over the next 3 years.

Looking Ahead:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Sunnova Energy International, we've compiled three fundamental items you should further examine:

  1. Risks: You should be aware of the 4 warning signs for Sunnova Energy International (1 is a bit unpleasant!) we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.

  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for NOVA's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.

  3. Other Solid Businesses: Low debt, high returns on equity and good past performance are fundamental to a strong business. Why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals to see if there are other companies you may not have considered!

PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks 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.

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