Stock Analysis

Suncor Energy Inc. (TSE:SU) Shares Could Be 37% Below Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

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TSX:SU
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Key Insights

  • Suncor Energy's estimated fair value is CA$73.98 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity
  • Current share price of CA$46.95 suggests Suncor Energy is potentially 37% undervalued
  • The CA$54.47 analyst price target for SU is 26% less than our estimate of fair value

How far off is Suncor Energy Inc. (TSE:SU) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. 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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for Suncor Energy

Step By Step Through The Calculation

We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. 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) estimate

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033
Levered FCF (CA$, Millions) CA$7.59b CA$7.16b CA$6.93b CA$6.81b CA$6.76b CA$6.77b CA$6.82b CA$6.88b CA$6.97b CA$7.07b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Est @ -3.24% Est @ -1.71% Est @ -0.64% Est @ 0.11% Est @ 0.64% Est @ 1.00% Est @ 1.26% Est @ 1.44%
Present Value (CA$, Millions) Discounted @ 8.3% CA$7.0k CA$6.1k CA$5.4k CA$4.9k CA$4.5k CA$4.2k CA$3.9k CA$3.6k CA$3.4k CA$3.2k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CA$46b

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. 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 1.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 8.3%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CA$7.1b× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (8.3%– 1.9%) = CA$111b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CA$111b÷ ( 1 + 8.3%)10= CA$50b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is CA$96b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of CA$47.0, the company appears quite good value at a 37% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.

dcf
TSX:SU Discounted Cash Flow November 3rd 2023

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. 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 Suncor 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 8.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.297. 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.

SWOT Analysis for Suncor Energy

Strength
  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.
  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.
Weakness
  • Earnings declined over the past year.
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Oil and Gas market.
Opportunity
  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.
Threat
  • Annual earnings are forecast to decline for the next 3 years.

Moving On:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Suncor Energy, we've compiled three further factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for Suncor Energy (of which 1 doesn't sit too well with us!) you should know about.
  2. Future Earnings: How does SU'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 TSX 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 Suncor 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.

View the Free Analysis

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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.