Estimating The Intrinsic Value Of Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG)

Does the May share price for Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) reflect what it’s really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock’s intrinsic value by projecting its future cash flows and then 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!

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company’s value, and a DCF is just one method. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for Fortescue Metals Group

The method

We have to calculate the value of Fortescue Metals Group slightly differently to other stocks because it is a metals and mining company. Instead of using free cash flows, which are hard to estimate and often not reported by analysts in this industry, dividends per share (DPS) payments are used. 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 2.3%. We then discount this figure to today’s value at a cost of equity of 8.8%. Relative to the current share price of AU$13.9, the company appears about fair value at a 5.2% 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$0.6 / (8.8% – 2.3%)

= AU$14.7

ASX:FMG Intrinsic value May 29th 2020
ASX:FMG Intrinsic value May 29th 2020

Important assumptions

We would point out that 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 Fortescue Metals Group 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 8.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.089. 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 Fortescue Metals Group, We’ve put together three relevant aspects you should further research:

  1. Risks: For instance, we’ve identified 2 warning signs for Fortescue Metals Group (1 doesn’t sit too well with us) you should be aware of.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market’s sentiment for FMG’s future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  3. 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 ASX 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. Thank you for reading.