Stock Analysis

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

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LSE:EZJ
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Does the July 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 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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for easyJet

The model

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 need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (£, Millions) UK£351.2m UK£308.2m UK£288.0m UK£276.3m UK£269.1m UK£265.0m UK£262.9m UK£262.2m UK£262.4m UK£263.3m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x5 Analyst x5 Analyst x1 Est @ -4.07% Est @ -2.58% Est @ -1.53% Est @ -0.79% Est @ -0.28% Est @ 0.08% Est @ 0.33%
Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 8.7% UK£323 UK£261 UK£224 UK£198 UK£177 UK£161 UK£147 UK£135 UK£124 UK£114

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£1.9b

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. 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 8.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£263m× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (8.7%– 0.9%) = UK£3.4b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£3.4b÷ ( 1 + 8.7%)10= UK£1.5b

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£3.3b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of UK£9.2, the company appears slightly overvalued 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 July 2nd 2021

The 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 8.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.465. 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.

Next Steps:

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. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Why is the intrinsic value lower than the current share price? For easyJet, we've compiled three relevant factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for easyJet that you should be aware of.
  2. Future Earnings: How does EZJ'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 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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every British stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

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