Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Victorian Plumbing Group plc (LON:VIC) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.
We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Crunching the numbers
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. 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) estimate
|Levered FCF (£, Millions)||UK£29.3m||UK£34.4m||UK£43.0m||UK£51.0m||UK£56.7m||UK£61.4m||UK£65.0m||UK£67.9m||UK£70.2m||UK£72.1m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 11.24%||Est @ 8.15%||Est @ 5.98%||Est @ 4.46%||Est @ 3.4%||Est @ 2.66%|
|Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 6.4%||UK£27.5||UK£30.4||UK£35.7||UK£39.8||UK£41.6||UK£42.3||UK£42.2||UK£41.4||UK£40.2||UK£38.8|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£379m
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 6.4%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£72m× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (6.4%– 0.9%) = UK£1.3b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£1.3b÷ ( 1 + 6.4%)10= UK£717m
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£1.1b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of UK£2.5, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 25% 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.
Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual 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 Victorian Plumbing 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 6.4%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.029. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Victorian Plumbing Group, we've put together three important factors you should further research:
- Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for Victorian Plumbing Group you should be aware of.
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for VIC'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. 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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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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