Is M&C Saatchi plc (LON:SAA) Trading At A 28% Discount?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
September 06, 2021
AIM:SAA
Source: Shutterstock

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of M&C Saatchi plc (LON:SAA) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. 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.

View our latest analysis for M&C Saatchi

What's the estimated valuation?

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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (£, Millions) UK£15.2m UK£19.6m UK£17.8m UK£16.7m UK£16.0m UK£15.6m UK£15.4m UK£15.3m UK£15.2m UK£15.2m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Est @ -9.29% Est @ -6.23% Est @ -4.08% Est @ -2.58% Est @ -1.53% Est @ -0.8% Est @ -0.28% Est @ 0.08%
Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 6.8% UK£14.2 UK£17.2 UK£14.6 UK£12.8 UK£11.5 UK£10.5 UK£9.7 UK£9.0 UK£8.4 UK£7.9

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£115m

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 6.8%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£15m× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (6.8%– 0.9%) = UK£260m

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£260m÷ ( 1 + 6.8%)10= UK£134m

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£249m. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of UK£1.5, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 28% 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
AIM:SAA Discounted Cash Flow September 7th 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. 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 M&C Saatchi 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 6.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.114. 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:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for 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. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For M&C Saatchi, we've compiled three fundamental aspects you should further examine:

  1. Risks: To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with M&C Saatchi .
  2. Future Earnings: How does SAA'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 AIM every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

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