Stock Analysis

Calculating The Intrinsic Value Of China Southern Airlines Company Limited (HKG:1055)

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SEHK:1055
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How far off is China Southern Airlines Company Limited (HKG:1055) 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 expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for China Southern Airlines

The method

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 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 (CN¥, Millions) CN¥10.7b CN¥10.3b CN¥9.41b CN¥8.93b CN¥8.65b CN¥8.50b CN¥8.43b CN¥8.42b CN¥8.45b CN¥8.51b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Est @ -5.12% Est @ -3.14% Est @ -1.75% Est @ -0.78% Est @ -0.1% Est @ 0.37% Est @ 0.7%
Present Value (CN¥, Millions) Discounted @ 12% CN¥9.5k CN¥8.1k CN¥6.6k CN¥5.6k CN¥4.8k CN¥4.2k CN¥3.7k CN¥3.3k CN¥3.0k CN¥2.7k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CN¥52b

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 1.5%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 12%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CN¥8.5b× (1 + 1.5%) ÷ (12%– 1.5%) = CN¥80b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CN¥80b÷ ( 1 + 12%)10= CN¥25b

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 CN¥77b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of HK$5.2, the company appears about fair value at a 14% 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.

dcf
SEHK:1055 Discounted Cash Flow June 13th 2021

Important assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 China Southern Airlines 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 12%, which is based on a levered beta of 2.000. 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.

Looking Ahead:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation 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. 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 China Southern Airlines, we've compiled three fundamental elements you should further research:

  1. Risks: Be aware that China Southern Airlines is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those shouldn't be ignored...
  2. Future Earnings: How does 1055'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 Hong Kong stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

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