Stock Analysis

Is MEG Energy Corp. (TSE:MEG) Trading At A 45% Discount?

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TSX:MEG
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Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of MEG Energy Corp. (TSE:MEG) as an investment opportunity by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Believe it or not, it's not too difficult to follow, as you'll see from our example!

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Our analysis indicates that MEG is potentially undervalued!

The Calculation

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. 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF (CA$, Millions) CA$1.13b CA$947.0m CA$884.5m CA$848.2m CA$828.0m CA$818.5m CA$816.1m CA$818.5m CA$824.3m CA$832.6m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x5 Analyst x3 Est @ -6.6% Est @ -4.11% Est @ -2.37% Est @ -1.15% Est @ -0.3% Est @ 0.3% Est @ 0.71% Est @ 1.01%
Present Value (CA$, Millions) Discounted @ 9.0% CA$1.0k CA$797 CA$683 CA$601 CA$538 CA$488 CA$446 CA$410 CA$379 CA$351

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CA$5.7b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after 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 (1.7%) 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 9.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CA$833m× (1 + 1.7%) ÷ (9.0%– 1.7%) = CA$12b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CA$12b÷ ( 1 + 9.0%)10= CA$4.9b

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is CA$11b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of CA$19.5, the company appears quite good value at a 45% 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
TSX:MEG Discounted Cash Flow December 4th 2022

Important 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 MEG Energy 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 9.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.427. 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 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. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For MEG Energy, there are three pertinent items you should consider:

  1. Risks: For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for MEG Energy that you should be aware of.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for MEG'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. 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 MEG Energy 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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