Stock Analysis

Woodside Energy Group Ltd's (ASX:WDS) Intrinsic Value Is Potentially 41% Above Its Share Price

  •  Updated
ASX:WDS
Source: Shutterstock

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Woodside Energy Group Ltd (ASX:WDS) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Our analysis indicates that WDS is potentially undervalued!

The Method

We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. 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 discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$3.86b US$2.95b US$3.83b US$4.57b US$4.85b US$5.09b US$5.29b US$5.47b US$5.63b US$5.77b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x5 Analyst x5 Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Est @ 6.13% Est @ 4.85% Est @ 3.96% Est @ 3.33% Est @ 2.89% Est @ 2.59%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.5% US$3.6k US$2.5k US$3.0k US$3.3k US$3.2k US$3.1k US$3.0k US$2.8k US$2.7k US$2.5k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$30b

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 (1.9%) 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 8.5%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$5.8b× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (8.5%– 1.9%) = US$88b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$88b÷ ( 1 + 8.5%)10= US$39b

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$69b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of AU$38.5, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 29% 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:WDS Discounted Cash Flow November 13th 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. 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 Woodside Energy 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 8.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.295. 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 is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Woodside Energy Group, there are three essential elements you should further examine:

  1. Risks: As an example, we've found 4 warning signs for Woodside Energy Group (2 shouldn't be ignored!) that you need to consider before investing here.
  2. Future Earnings: How does WDS'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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every Australian stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Woodside Energy Group is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

View the Free Analysis