Stock Analysis

Are Investors Undervaluing BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:BJ) By 48%?

NYSE:BJ
Source: Shutterstock

Key Insights

  • BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings' estimated fair value is US$129 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity
  • Current share price of US$67.3 suggests BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings is 48% undervalued
  • Analyst price target for BJ is US$79.88 which is 38% below our fair value estimate

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:BJ) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings

Crunching The Numbers

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.

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) estimate

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$458.9m US$407.5m US$472.2m US$633.4m US$773.2m US$876.8m US$964.3m US$1.04b US$1.10b US$1.15b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x4 Analyst x4 Analyst x4 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 13.40% Est @ 9.98% Est @ 7.58% Est @ 5.90% Est @ 4.72%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.9% US$429 US$356 US$386 US$485 US$553 US$587 US$603 US$607 US$601 US$589

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$5.2b

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 (2.0%) 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 6.9%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.2b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (6.9%– 2.0%) = US$24b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$24b÷ ( 1 + 6.9%)10= US$12b

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$17b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$67.3, the company appears quite undervalued at a 48% 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.

dcf
NYSE:BJ Discounted Cash Flow January 10th 2023

The Assumptions

Now 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 BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings 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 6.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.823. 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 BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings

Strength
  • Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.
  • Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.
Weakness
  • Earnings growth over the past year is below its 5-year average.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.
  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
Threat
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Looking Ahead:

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. 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?" For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings, there are three pertinent elements you should look at:

  1. Risks: We feel that you should assess the 1 warning sign for BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
  2. Future Earnings: How does BJ'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 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.

Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether BJ's Wholesale Club Holdings 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

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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.