In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Media Lab S.p.A. (EPA:MLLAB) 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. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.
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. To begin with, we have to get estimates of the next ten years of cash flows. Seeing as no analyst estimates of free cash flow are available to us, we have extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the company's last 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
|Levered FCF (€, Millions)||€273.8k||€285.6k||€294.5k||€301.3k||€306.4k||€310.4k||€313.6k||€316.2k||€318.3k||€320.2k|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Est @ 6%||Est @ 4.3%||Est @ 3.12%||Est @ 2.29%||Est @ 1.71%||Est @ 1.31%||Est @ 1.02%||Est @ 0.82%||Est @ 0.68%||Est @ 0.59%|
|Present Value (€, Millions) Discounted @ 6.0%||€0.3||€0.3||€0.2||€0.2||€0.2||€0.2||€0.2||€0.2||€0.2||€0.2|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = €2.0m
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 6.0%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = €320k× (1 + 0.4%) ÷ (6.0%– 0.4%) = €5.7m
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= €5.7m÷ ( 1 + 6.0%)10= €3.2m
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is €5.2m. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of €2.2, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. 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.
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 Media Lab 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 6.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.827. 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 shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For Media Lab, we've put together three important factors you should explore:
- Risks: We feel that you should assess the 4 warning signs for Media Lab (2 are concerning!) we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
- 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!
- Other Environmentally-Friendly Companies: Concerned about the environment and think consumers will buy eco-friendly products more and more? Browse through our interactive list of companies that are thinking about a greener future to discover some stocks you may not have thought of!
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. 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.
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