A Look At The Intrinsic Value Of Woolworths Group Limited (ASX:WOW)

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 02, 2022
ASX:WOW
Source: Shutterstock

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Woolworths Group Limited (ASX:WOW) as an investment opportunity by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing 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. 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.

View our latest analysis for Woolworths Group

The calculation

We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. 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

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (A$, Millions) AU$1.21b AU$1.74b AU$1.93b AU$1.87b AU$1.84b AU$1.83b AU$1.83b AU$1.85b AU$1.87b AU$1.89b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Est @ -1.58% Est @ -0.55% Est @ 0.17% Est @ 0.68% Est @ 1.03% Est @ 1.28%
Present Value (A$, Millions) Discounted @ 5.4% AU$1.1k AU$1.6k AU$1.7k AU$1.5k AU$1.4k AU$1.3k AU$1.3k AU$1.2k AU$1.2k AU$1.1k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = AU$13b

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 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 1.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 5.4%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = AU$1.9b× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (5.4%– 1.9%) = AU$55b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= AU$55b÷ ( 1 + 5.4%)10= AU$33b

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 AU$46b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of AU$38.0, the company appears about fair value at a 0.3% 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.

dcf
ASX:WOW Discounted Cash Flow January 2nd 2022

The 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 Woolworths 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 5.4%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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.

Looking Ahead:

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. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For Woolworths Group, we've put together three important elements you should explore:

  1. Risks: As an example, we've found 2 warning signs for Woolworths Group that you need to consider before investing here.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for WOW'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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Simply Wall St does a detailed discounted cash flow calculation every 6 hours for every stock on the market, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any company just search here. It’s FREE.

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