Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Eurofins Scientific SE (EPA:ERF) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back 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!
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. 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 discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF (€, Millions)||€793.2m||€790.5m||€730.0m||€738.0m||€723.5m||€714.2m||€708.6m||€705.3m||€703.8m||€703.5m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x10||Analyst x10||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ -1.97%||Est @ -1.28%||Est @ -0.79%||Est @ -0.45%||Est @ -0.21%||Est @ -0.05%|
|Present Value (€, Millions) Discounted @ 4.4%||€760||€725||€642||€621||€584||€552||€524||€500||€478||€458|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = €5.8b
The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after 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 0.3%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 4.4%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = €703m× (1 + 0.3%) ÷ (4.4%– 0.3%) = €17b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= €17b÷ ( 1 + 4.4%)10= €11b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is €17b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of €114, the company appears slightly overvalued 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.
Now 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 Eurofins Scientific 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 4.4%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.925. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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 lower than the current share price? For Eurofins Scientific, we've compiled three relevant items you should look at:
- Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for Eurofins Scientific you should be aware of.
- Future Earnings: How does ERF'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.
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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