Does the June share price for PetroChina Company Limited (HKG:857) reflect what it’s really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock’s intrinsic value by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today’s value. I will use 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.
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.
Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF (CN¥, Millions)||-CN¥10.1b||CN¥27.1b||CN¥51.5b||CN¥72.3b||CN¥93.2b||CN¥112.5b||CN¥129.3b||CN¥143.5b||CN¥155.3b||CN¥164.9b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x6||Analyst x8||Analyst x5||Est @ 40.5%||Est @ 28.84%||Est @ 20.68%||Est @ 14.97%||Est @ 10.97%||Est @ 8.17%||Est @ 6.21%|
|Present Value (CN¥, Millions) Discounted @ 14%||-CN¥8.9k||CN¥20.9k||CN¥34.9k||CN¥43.1k||CN¥48.8k||CN¥51.8k||CN¥52.3k||CN¥51.0k||CN¥48.5k||CN¥45.2k|
(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CN¥388b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 10-year government bond rate of 1.6%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today’s value at a cost of equity of 14%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2029 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CN¥165b× (1 + 1.6%) ÷ 14%– 1.6%) = CN¥1.4t
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CN¥1.4t÷ ( 1 + 14%)10= CN¥378b
The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is CN¥766b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of HK$2.8, the company appears quite good value at a 38% 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.
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 PetroChina 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 14%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.667. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it 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. What is the reason for the share price to differ from the intrinsic value? For PetroChina, There are three further aspects you should further examine:
- Risks: You should be aware of the 2 warning signs for PetroChina (1 is a bit concerning!) we’ve uncovered before considering an investment in the company.
- Future Earnings: How does 857’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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every HK stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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.