- United States
Estimating The Fair Value Of AECOM (NYSE:ACM)
- The projected fair value for AECOM is US$83.21 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity
- Current share price of US$82.36 suggests AECOM is potentially trading close to its fair value
- Analyst price target for ACM is US$98.78, which is 19% above our fair value estimate
In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of AECOM (NYSE:ACM) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.
We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
View our latest analysis for AECOM
We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$625.8m||US$613.7m||US$705.0m||US$758.6m||US$803.7m||US$842.1m||US$875.6m||US$905.3m||US$932.5m||US$957.9m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x3||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ 7.60%||Est @ 5.94%||Est @ 4.78%||Est @ 3.97%||Est @ 3.40%||Est @ 3.00%||Est @ 2.72%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.6%||US$576||US$520||US$550||US$545||US$531||US$512||US$490||US$467||US$443||US$419|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$5.1b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 (2.1%) 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 8.6%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$958m× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (8.6%– 2.1%) = US$15b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$15b÷ ( 1 + 8.6%)10= US$6.5b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is US$12b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$82.4, the company appears about fair value at a 1.0% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.
Now 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 AECOM 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 8.6%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.105. 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.
SWOT Analysis for AECOM
- Debt is not viewed as a risk.
- Earnings growth over the past year underperformed the Construction industry.
- Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Construction market.
- Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.
- Current share price is below our estimate of fair value.
- Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the American market.
Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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 AECOM, we've compiled three relevant factors you should look at:
- Risks: For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for AECOM that you should be aware of before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does ACM'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 NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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Find out whether AECOM is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.View the Free Analysis
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.
AECOM, together with its subsidiaries, provides professional infrastructure consulting services worldwide.
Flawless balance sheet with moderate growth potential.