Estimating The Fair Value Of Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCHN)

Today we’ll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCHN) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today’s value. I will be using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!

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. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for Schnitzer Steel Industries

What’s the estimated valuation?

We have to calculate the value of Schnitzer Steel Industries slightly differently to other stocks because it is a metals and mining 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. The ‘Gordon Growth Model’ is used, which simply assumes that dividend payments will continue to increase at a sustainable growth rate forever. The dividend is expected to growth at an annual growth rate equal to the 10-year government bond rate of 1.7%. We then discount this figure to today’s value at a cost of equity of 7.9%. Relative to the current share price of US$14.1, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. 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.

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

= US$0.8 / (7.9% – 1.7%)

= US$12.5

NasdaqGS:SCHN Intrinsic value, March 10th 2020
NasdaqGS:SCHN Intrinsic value, March 10th 2020

Important assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the cash flows. You don’t have to agree with these inputs, I recommend redoing the calculations yourself and playing with them. 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 Schnitzer Steel Industries 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 7.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.126. 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.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, DCF calculation shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Rather it should be seen as a guide to “what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?” If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. For Schnitzer Steel Industries, We’ve compiled three relevant factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: Case in point, we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Schnitzer Steel Industries you should be aware of.
  2. Future Earnings: How does SCHN’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.
  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 NASDAQGS every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

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