- Oil and Gas
Are Investors Undervaluing La Française de l'Energie S.A. (EPA:LFDE) By 25%?
In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of La Française de l'Energie S.A. (EPA:LFDE) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. 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. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
See our latest analysis for La Française de l'Energie
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.
Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, 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 (€, Millions)||-€7.46m||-€11.9m||€6.85m||€8.90m||€10.8m||€12.4m||€13.7m||€14.7m||€15.5m||€16.1m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x3||Analyst x3||Analyst x3||Est @ 30%||Est @ 21.11%||Est @ 14.88%||Est @ 10.53%||Est @ 7.48%||Est @ 5.34%||Est @ 3.85%|
|Present Value (€, Millions) Discounted @ 7.2%||-€7.0||-€10.3||€5.6||€6.7||€7.6||€8.1||€8.4||€8.4||€8.3||€8.0|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = €43m
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. 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 (0.4%) 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 7.2%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = €16m× (1 + 0.4%) ÷ (7.2%– 0.4%) = €235m
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= €235m÷ ( 1 + 7.2%)10= €117m
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 €160m. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of €23.2, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 25% 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 La Française de l'Energie 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 7.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.324. 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. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For La Française de l'Energie, we've compiled three relevant items you should consider:
- Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with La Française de l'Energie (at least 1 which is a bit unpleasant) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
- Future Earnings: How does LFDE'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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the ENXTPA every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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La Française de l'Energie
La Française de l'Energie S.A., a carbon-negative energy producer, focuses on energy recovery and production sites for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in France.
Outstanding track record with reasonable growth potential.