Calculating The Fair Value Of Spark New Zealand Limited (NZSE:SPK)

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 26, 2021

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Spark New Zealand Limited (NZSE:SPK) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

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 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.

See our latest analysis for Spark New Zealand

The method

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

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 Levered FCF (NZ\$, Millions) NZ\$535.0m NZ\$486.0m NZ\$526.0m NZ\$496.5m NZ\$478.5m NZ\$478.3m NZ\$481.3m NZ\$486.8m NZ\$494.0m NZ\$502.4m Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Est @ -0.05% Est @ 0.64% Est @ 1.13% Est @ 1.47% Est @ 1.71% Present Value (NZ\$, Millions) Discounted @ 6.5% NZ\$503 NZ\$429 NZ\$436 NZ\$387 NZ\$350 NZ\$329 NZ\$311 NZ\$295 NZ\$281 NZ\$269

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = NZ\$3.6b

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 2.3%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.5%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = NZ\$502m× (1 + 2.3%) ÷ (6.5%– 2.3%) = NZ\$12b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= NZ\$12b÷ ( 1 + 6.5%)10= NZ\$6.6b

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is NZ\$10b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of NZ\$4.4, the company appears about fair value at a 20% 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.

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 Spark New Zealand 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 6.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. 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. For Spark New Zealand, we've compiled three important elements you should further examine:

1. Risks: As an example, we've found 2 warning signs for Spark New Zealand (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you need to consider before investing here.
2. Future Earnings: How does SPK'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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NZSE 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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