Does This Valuation Of easyJet plc (LON:EZJ) Imply Investors Are Overpaying?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 18, 2021
LSE:EZJ

Does the March share price for easyJet plc (LON:EZJ) 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 their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

See our latest analysis for easyJet

Crunching the numbers

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.

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) estimate

2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
Levered FCF (£, Millions) -UK£673.4m UK£286.7m UK£464.2m UK£329.3m UK£385.0m UK£397.9m UK£408.4m UK£417.2m UK£424.8m UK£431.4m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x11 Analyst x9 Analyst x6 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Est @ 3.35% Est @ 2.65% Est @ 2.15% Est @ 1.81% Est @ 1.56%
Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 9.5% -UK£615 UK£239 UK£354 UK£229 UK£245 UK£231 UK£217 UK£202 UK£188 UK£175

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£1.5b

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 9.5%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£431m× (1 + 1.0%) ÷ (9.5%– 1.0%) = UK£5.1b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£5.1b÷ ( 1 + 9.5%)10= UK£2.1b

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£3.5b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of UK£10.3, the company appears reasonably expensive at the time of writing. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
LSE:EZJ Discounted Cash Flow March 19th 2021

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. 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 easyJet 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 9.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.420. 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:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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. Why is the intrinsic value lower than the current share price? For easyJet, there are three essential items you should assess:

  1. Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 3 warning signs for easyJet you should be aware of, and 1 of them is a bit concerning.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for EZJ'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. 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.
*Interactive Brokers Rated Lowest Cost Broker by StockBrokers.com Annual Online Review 2020


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