An Intrinsic Calculation For Balfour Beatty plc (LON:BBY) Suggests It's 21% Undervalued

By
Simply Wall St
Published
December 22, 2021
LSE:BBY
Source: Shutterstock

Does the December share price for Balfour Beatty plc (LON:BBY) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

Check out our latest analysis for Balfour Beatty

The method

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. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. 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

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (£, Millions) UK£91.8m UK£192.2m UK£165.7m UK£150.2m UK£140.8m UK£134.9m UK£131.4m UK£129.4m UK£128.3m UK£127.9m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ -13.77% Est @ -9.37% Est @ -6.29% Est @ -4.13% Est @ -2.62% Est @ -1.56% Est @ -0.83% Est @ -0.31%
Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 7.1% UK£85.7 UK£168 UK£135 UK£114 UK£99.9 UK£89.4 UK£81.3 UK£74.7 UK£69.2 UK£64.4

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£980m

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 0.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.1%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£128m× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (7.1%– 0.9%) = UK£2.1b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£2.1b÷ ( 1 + 7.1%)10= UK£1.0b

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is UK£2.0b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of UK£2.5, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 21% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
LSE:BBY Discounted Cash Flow December 22nd 2021

The assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Balfour Beatty 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 7.1%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.269. 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.

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Balfour Beatty, we've put together three pertinent elements you should explore:

  1. Risks: You should be aware of the 1 warning sign for Balfour Beatty we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.
  2. Future Earnings: How does BBY'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.
  3. 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 LSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

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