Is There An Opportunity With TC Energy Corporation's (TSE:TRP) 28% Undervaluation?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 16, 2022
TSX:TRP
Source: Shutterstock

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of TC Energy Corporation (TSE:TRP) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

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 TC Energy

Crunching the numbers

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 begin with, we have to get estimates of 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 (CA$, Millions) CA$2.61b CA$4.35b CA$5.32b CA$4.80b CA$6.82b CA$7.47b CA$8.00b CA$8.44b CA$8.80b CA$9.11b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x4 Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Est @ 9.53% Est @ 7.14% Est @ 5.47% Est @ 4.29% Est @ 3.47%
Present Value (CA$, Millions) Discounted @ 8.8% CA$2.4k CA$3.7k CA$4.1k CA$3.4k CA$4.5k CA$4.5k CA$4.4k CA$4.3k CA$4.1k CA$3.9k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CA$39b

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 (1.6%) 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 8.8%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CA$9.1b× (1 + 1.6%) ÷ (8.8%– 1.6%) = CA$128b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CA$128b÷ ( 1 + 8.8%)10= CA$55b

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$94b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of CA$69.3, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 28% 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
TSX:TRP Discounted Cash Flow March 16th 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. If you don't agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 TC 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 8.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.706. 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:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For TC Energy, we've put together three relevant items you should consider:

  1. Risks: For instance, we've identified 5 warning signs for TC Energy (1 is concerning) you should be aware of.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for TRP'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. 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.

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