I know I've been harsh toward big-screen display specialist Daktronics
Any relative valuation ratio you'd like to mention has been stratospheric over the past year or so. For example, Daktronics' current P/E ratio of 42.5 is richer than that of Crocs
And it's impossible to do a proper discounted cash flow valuation of a company with negative cash flows. That problem could soon be a thing of the past, though. After four straight quarters of negative free cash flow -- and seven quarters out of the past nine -- Daktronics is back to generating cash, to the tune of $6.2 million. What's more, management said that two years of heavy infrastructure investments are behind it, and those massive capital expenditures won't come back.
As a result, we should expect lots of fresh free cash going forward, and it should be possible to get a handle on what the company is really worth. If you project a $24.8 million run rate from this quarter's number and apply the 25% Thomson consensus five-year growth expectations, you'd get a $954 million market cap value.
That's within 3% of the current cap, indicating that Daktronics may indeed be worth the money these days. I'll put my valuation complaints on hold until further notice, P/E ratios notwithstanding, and we'll see in a quarter or two how much cash the company really can generate.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Hansen shareholder, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. His middle name is actually Hans. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure will make your day, every day.