Associated British Foods plc (LON:ABF) Shares Could Be 42% Below Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 26, 2022
LSE:ABF
Source: Shutterstock

Does the March share price for Associated British Foods plc (LON:ABF) 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 today's value. One way to achieve this is by employing 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.

We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for Associated British Foods

Is Associated British Foods fairly valued?

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 start off with, we need to estimate 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (£, Millions) UK£702.7m UK£867.6m UK£931.7m UK£1.04b UK£1.01b UK£984.6m UK£972.6m UK£966.8m UK£965.4m UK£966.9m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x10 Analyst x10 Analyst x9 Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ -2.12% Est @ -1.22% Est @ -0.59% Est @ -0.15% Est @ 0.16%
Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 4.8% UK£671 UK£791 UK£811 UK£867 UK£798 UK£745 UK£703 UK£667 UK£636 UK£608

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£7.3b

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 4.8%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£967m× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (4.8%– 0.9%) = UK£25b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£25b÷ ( 1 + 4.8%)10= UK£16b

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£23b. 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£17.0, the company appears quite good value at a 42% 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:ABF Discounted Cash Flow March 26th 2022

The assumptions

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 Associated British Foods 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 4.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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.

Looking Ahead:

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. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or 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. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Associated British Foods, we've compiled three additional elements you should further examine:

  1. Risks: For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Associated British Foods that you should be aware of before investing here.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for ABF's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  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. 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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