Stock Analysis

A Look At The Fair Value Of Auction Technology Group plc (LON:ATG)

  •  Updated
LSE:ATG
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In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Auction Technology Group plc (LON:ATG) 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. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for Auction Technology Group

What's The Estimated Valuation?

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 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

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF (£, Millions) UK£38.5m UK£46.3m UK£51.8m UK£56.3m UK£59.9m UK£62.7m UK£65.0m UK£66.8m UK£68.3m UK£69.6m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Est @ 12.03% Est @ 8.7% Est @ 6.37% Est @ 4.74% Est @ 3.6% Est @ 2.8% Est @ 2.24% Est @ 1.84%
Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 6.4% UK£36.2 UK£40.8 UK£43.0 UK£43.9 UK£43.9 UK£43.2 UK£42.1 UK£40.6 UK£39.0 UK£37.4

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£410m

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. 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 6.4%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£70m× (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£687m

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. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of UK£8.2, the company appears about fair value at a 10% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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:ATG Discounted Cash Flow August 30th 2022

Important Assumptions

We would point out that 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 Auction Technology 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 1.134. 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.

Moving On:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and 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. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For Auction Technology Group, we've put together three pertinent elements you should further research:

  1. Financial Health: Does ATG have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Future Earnings: How does ATG'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 LSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether Auction Technology Group is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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About LSE:ATG

Auction Technology Group

Auction Technology Group plc operates marketplaces and a proprietary auction platform primarily in the United Kingdom, North America, and Germany.

The Snowflake is a visual investment summary with the score of each axis being calculated by 6 checks in 5 areas.

Analysis AreaScore (0-6)
Valuation1
Future Growth4
Past Performance0
Financial Health5
Dividends0

Read more about these checks in the individual report sections or in our analysis model.

Excellent balance sheet with reasonable growth potential.