Stock Analysis

Estimating The Intrinsic Value Of BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL)

  •  Updated
ASX:BSL
Source: Shutterstock

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. 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 BlueScope Steel

What's the estimated valuation?

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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (A$, Millions) AU$1.22b AU$1.08b AU$724.0m AU$784.0m AU$692.7m AU$640.2m AU$609.9m AU$593.2m AU$585.3m AU$583.2m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x4 Analyst x4 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ -11.65% Est @ -7.58% Est @ -4.73% Est @ -2.73% Est @ -1.34% Est @ -0.36%
Present Value (A$, Millions) Discounted @ 7.0% AU$1.1k AU$945 AU$591 AU$598 AU$493 AU$426 AU$379 AU$345 AU$318 AU$296

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = AU$5.5b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond the first stage. 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 7.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = AU$583m× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (7.0%– 1.9%) = AU$12b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= AU$12b÷ ( 1 + 7.0%)10= AU$5.9b

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is AU$11b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of AU$22.9, 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.

dcf
ASX:BSL Discounted Cash Flow July 19th 2021

Important assumptions

Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual 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 BlueScope Steel 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 7.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.080. 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.

Moving On:

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. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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 BlueScope Steel, there are three fundamental items you should explore:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 4 warning signs with BlueScope Steel (at least 1 which can't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
  2. Future Earnings: How does BSL'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 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.

If you’re looking to trade BlueScope Steel, open an account with the lowest-cost* platform trusted by professionals, Interactive Brokers. Their clients from over 200 countries and territories trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds worldwide from a single integrated account. Promoted


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

Find out whether BlueScope Steel 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