How far off is Sodexo S.A. (EPA:SW) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
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.
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, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF (€, Millions)||€743.7m||€776.3m||€873.7m||€936.0m||€978.6m||€1.01b||€1.04b||€1.05b||€1.07b||€1.08b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x10||Analyst x9||Analyst x3||Analyst x2||Est @ 4.55%||Est @ 3.29%||Est @ 2.41%||Est @ 1.8%||Est @ 1.37%||Est @ 1.06%|
|Present Value (€, Millions) Discounted @ 7.9%||€689||€667||€696||€691||€669||€641||€608||€574||€539||€505|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = €6.3b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 0.4%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.9%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = €1.1b× (1 + 0.4%) ÷ (7.9%– 0.4%) = €14b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= €14b÷ ( 1 + 7.9%)10= €6.7b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is €13b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of €74.5, the company appears about fair value at a 16% 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.
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 Sodexo 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 7.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.449. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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 Sodexo, we've compiled three pertinent factors you should explore:
- Risks: You should be aware of the 1 warning sign for Sodexo we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.
- Future Earnings: How does SW'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 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 French stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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.
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