Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSE:CP) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.
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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Crunching the numbers
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. 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, 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
|Levered FCF (CA$, Millions)||CA$2.58b||CA$4.01b||CA$4.44b||CA$5.05b||CA$5.50b||CA$5.87b||CA$6.17b||CA$6.42b||CA$6.64b||CA$6.82b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x11||Analyst x7||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Est @ 8.87%||Est @ 6.68%||Est @ 5.14%||Est @ 4.07%||Est @ 3.32%||Est @ 2.79%|
|Present Value (CA$, Millions) Discounted @ 6.1%||CA$2.4k||CA$3.6k||CA$3.7k||CA$4.0k||CA$4.1k||CA$4.1k||CA$4.1k||CA$4.0k||CA$3.9k||CA$3.8k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CA$38b
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 1.6%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.1%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CA$6.8b× (1 + 1.6%) ÷ (6.1%– 1.6%) = CA$151b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CA$151b÷ ( 1 + 6.1%)10= CA$83b
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$121b. 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$89.7, the company appears quite undervalued at a 31% 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.
Now 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 Canadian Pacific Railway 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 6.1%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.082. 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.
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?" 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. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Canadian Pacific Railway, there are three pertinent items you should further examine:
- Risks: As an example, we've found 2 warning signs for Canadian Pacific Railway (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that you need to consider before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does CP'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.
- 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.
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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.