How far off is Clarkson PLC (LON:CKN) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced 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. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Is Clarkson fairly valued?
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. 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.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF (£, Millions)||UK£38.8m||UK£45.9m||UK£41.1m||UK£38.2m||UK£36.5m||UK£35.4m||UK£34.8m||UK£34.5m||UK£34.4m||UK£34.4m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Est @ -10.42%||Est @ -6.99%||Est @ -4.6%||Est @ -2.92%||Est @ -1.74%||Est @ -0.92%||Est @ -0.34%||Est @ 0.06%|
|Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 6.2%||UK£36.5||UK£40.7||UK£34.3||UK£30.1||UK£27.0||UK£24.7||UK£22.8||UK£21.3||UK£20.0||UK£18.8|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£276m
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 1.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.2%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£34m× (1 + 1.0%) ÷ (6.2%– 1.0%) = UK£667m
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£667m÷ ( 1 + 6.2%)10= UK£365m
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£641m. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of UK£25.4, the company appears slightly overvalued at the time of writing. 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.
Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual 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 Clarkson 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 6.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.874. 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 is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a premium to intrinsic value? For Clarkson, we've compiled three further factors you should further examine:
- Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Clarkson you should know about.
- Future Earnings: How does CKN'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.
- 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.
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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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