In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Dow Inc. (NYSE:DOW) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today’s 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 would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.
What’s the estimated valuation?
We’re using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company’s growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. To start off with, we need to estimate the next ten years of cash flows. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren’t available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today’s dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$2.87b||US$2.77b||US$3.41b||US$3.50b||US$3.58b||US$3.66b||US$3.74b||US$3.82b||US$3.90b||US$3.99b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x9||Analyst x3||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 2.23%||Est @ 2.23%||Est @ 2.22%||Est @ 2.22%||Est @ 2.22%||Est @ 2.22%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.5%||US$2.6k||US$2.3k||US$2.6k||US$2.4k||US$2.3k||US$2.1k||US$2.0k||US$1.8k||US$1.7k||US$1.6k|
(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$21b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. For a number of reasons a very conservative growth rate is used that cannot exceed that of a country’s GDP growth. In this case we have used the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (2.2%) to estimate future growth. In the same way as with the 10-year ‘growth’ period, we discount future cash flows to today’s value, using a cost of equity of 9.5%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$4.0b× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (9.5%– 2.2%) = US$56b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$56b÷ ( 1 + 9.5%)10= US$22b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is US$44b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$44.9, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 24% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope – move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.
Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual cash flows. If you don’t agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 Dow 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 9.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.218. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won’t be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It’s not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Preferably you’d apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company’s valuation. For example, changes in the company’s cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Dow, there are three additional aspects you should explore:
- Risks: Take risks, for example – Dow has 3 warning signs (and 2 which make us uncomfortable) we think you should know about.
- Future Earnings: How does DOW’s growth rate compare to its peers and the wider market? Dig deeper into the analyst consensus number for the upcoming years by interacting with our free analyst growth expectation chart.
- Other High Quality Alternatives: Do you like a good all-rounder? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!
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.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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