Stock Analysis

# Estimating The Intrinsic Value Of Enerplus Corporation (TSE:ERF)

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Enerplus Corporation (TSE:ERF) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

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 still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

## Step By Step Through 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. 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, 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\$830.8m US\$512.0m US\$358.4m US\$284.9m US\$245.5m US\$223.0m US\$209.8m US\$202.1m US\$198.0m US\$196.2m Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x8 Analyst x1 Est @ -30% Est @ -20.5% Est @ -13.84% Est @ -9.18% Est @ -5.92% Est @ -3.64% Est @ -2.04% Est @ -0.92% Present Value (\$, Millions) Discounted @ 7.7% US\$771 US\$442 US\$287 US\$212 US\$170 US\$143 US\$125 US\$112 US\$102 US\$93.6

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US\$2.5b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. 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 1.7%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US\$196m× (1 + 1.7%) ÷ (7.7%– 1.7%) = US\$3.3b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US\$3.3b÷ ( 1 + 7.7%)10= US\$1.6b

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\$4.0b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of CA\$21.3, the company appears about fair value at a 11% 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.

## Important Assumptions

Now 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 Enerplus 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 7.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.281. 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:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. 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. For Enerplus, there are three fundamental items you should explore:

1. Risks: For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Enerplus that you should be aware of before investing here.
2. Future Earnings: How does ERF'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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every Canadian 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 Enerplus 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.

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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.

#### Enerplus

Explores and develops crude oil and natural gas in the United States.