Stock Analysis

Are Intertek Group plc (LON:ITRK) Investors Paying Above The Intrinsic Value?

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LSE:ITRK
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Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Intertek Group plc (LON:ITRK) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. 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 Intertek Group

Is Intertek Group fairly valued?

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. 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.

Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
Levered FCF (£, Millions) UK£307.1m UK£367.4m UK£406.6m UK£383.9m UK£386.0m UK£388.5m UK£391.3m UK£394.3m UK£397.6m UK£400.9m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x12 Analyst x12 Analyst x10 Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ 0.64% Est @ 0.72% Est @ 0.78% Est @ 0.82% Est @ 0.85%
Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 5.9% UK£290 UK£327 UK£342 UK£305 UK£289 UK£275 UK£261 UK£249 UK£237 UK£225

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£2.8b

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 0.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 5.9%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£401m× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (5.9%– 0.9%) = UK£8.1b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£8.1b÷ ( 1 + 5.9%)10= UK£4.5b

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£7.3b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of UK£58.2, the company appears slightly overvalued at the time of writing. 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.

dcf
LSE:ITRK Discounted Cash Flow May 19th 2021

The assumptions

Now 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 Intertek Group 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 5.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.945. 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:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation 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. 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 premium to intrinsic value? For Intertek Group, there are three pertinent elements you should further examine:

  1. Risks: As an example, we've found 1 warning sign for Intertek Group that you need to consider before investing here.
  2. Future Earnings: How does ITRK'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 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 LSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

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