Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Xylem Inc. (NYSE:XYL) as an investment opportunity by estimating the company's 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. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
What's the estimated valuation?
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 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$625.3m||US$712.7m||US$850.4m||US$934.0m||US$996.0m||US$1.05b||US$1.09b||US$1.13b||US$1.17b||US$1.20b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x7||Analyst x5||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ 6.63%||Est @ 5.24%||Est @ 4.27%||Est @ 3.58%||Est @ 3.11%||Est @ 2.77%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.3%||US$583||US$619||US$689||US$705||US$701||US$688||US$668||US$645||US$620||US$594|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$6.5b
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 (2.0%) 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 7.3%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.2b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.3%– 2.0%) = US$23b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$23b÷ ( 1 + 7.3%)10= US$11b
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 US$18b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$120, 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.
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. You don't have to agree with these inputs, I recommend redoing the calculations yourself and playing with them. 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 Xylem 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 7.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.121. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, it 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. 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. What is the reason for the share price exceeding the intrinsic value? For Xylem, there are three pertinent items you should explore:
- Risks: We feel that you should assess the 3 warning signs for Xylem we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for XYL's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- 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 American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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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Xylem Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and servicing of engineered products and solutions for the water and wastewater applications in the United States, Europe, the Asia Pacific, and internationally.
Excellent balance sheet with moderate growth potential.