Stock Analysis

Estimating The Fair Value Of Lynas Rare Earths Limited (ASX:LYC)

  •  Updated
ASX:LYC
Source: Shutterstock

How far off is Lynas Rare Earths Limited (ASX:LYC) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

See our latest analysis for Lynas Rare Earths

Is Lynas Rare Earths fairly valued?

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 need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (A$, Millions) AU$322.1m AU$530.7m AU$916.8m AU$1.03b AU$690.5m AU$519.1m AU$431.7m AU$383.1m AU$355.0m AU$338.7m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x4 Analyst x4 Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ -24.83% Est @ -16.84% Est @ -11.25% Est @ -7.33% Est @ -4.59%
Present Value (A$, Millions) Discounted @ 6.3% AU$303 AU$470 AU$764 AU$807 AU$510 AU$361 AU$282 AU$236 AU$206 AU$185

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = AU$4.1b

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 (1.8%) 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 6.3%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = AU$339m× (1 + 1.8%) ÷ (6.3%– 1.8%) = AU$7.7b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= AU$7.7b÷ ( 1 + 6.3%)10= AU$4.2b

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$8.3b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of AU$8.5, the company appears about fair value at a 7.7% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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:LYC Discounted Cash Flow June 14th 2022

The 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. 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 Lynas Rare Earths 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 6.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.051. 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:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess 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. 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 Lynas Rare Earths, we've put together three fundamental aspects you should assess:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Lynas Rare Earths , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
  2. Future Earnings: How does LYC'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. 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.

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

Find out whether Lynas Rare Earths 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