Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) as an investment opportunity by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. 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.
Is Tesco fairly valued?
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 discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF (£, Millions)||UK£1.17b||UK£1.76b||UK£1.90b||UK£1.79b||UK£1.81b||UK£1.82b||UK£1.83b||UK£1.84b||UK£1.86b||UK£1.87b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x5||Analyst x7||Analyst x5||Analyst x4||Analyst x1||Est @ 0.49%||Est @ 0.62%||Est @ 0.71%||Est @ 0.77%||Est @ 0.82%|
|Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 5.9%||UK£1.1k||UK£1.6k||UK£1.6k||UK£1.4k||UK£1.4k||UK£1.3k||UK£1.2k||UK£1.2k||UK£1.1k||UK£1.1k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£13b
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 (0.9%) 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 5.9%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£1.9b× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (5.9%– 0.9%) = UK£38b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£38b÷ ( 1 + 5.9%)10= UK£21b
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 UK£34b. 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£2.2, the company appears quite undervalued at a 50% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Tesco 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 0.940. 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.
Whilst important, the DCF calculation ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for 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. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Tesco, we've compiled three essential elements you should further examine:
- Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Tesco (at least 1 which is potentially serious) , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for TSCO's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- 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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every British 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. 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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