Stock Analysis

Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:DG) Shares Could Be 38% Below Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

NYSE:DG
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Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, Dollar General fair value estimate is US$209
  • Dollar General's US$130 share price signals that it might be 38% undervalued
  • Analyst price target for DG is US$155 which is 26% below our fair value estimate

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Dollar General Corporation (NYSE:DG) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing 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 Dollar General

What's The Estimated Valuation?

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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$1.14b US$1.66b US$1.74b US$2.02b US$2.19b US$2.32b US$2.43b US$2.52b US$2.61b US$2.69b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x4 Analyst x5 Analyst x6 Analyst x4 Analyst x4 Est @ 5.87% Est @ 4.75% Est @ 3.97% Est @ 3.43% Est @ 3.04%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.7% US$1.1k US$1.5k US$1.4k US$1.6k US$1.6k US$1.6k US$1.5k US$1.5k US$1.5k US$1.4k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$15b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after 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 (2.2%) 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 6.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.7b× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (6.7%– 2.2%) = US$60b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$60b÷ ( 1 + 6.7%)10= US$31b

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$46b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$130, the company appears quite good value at a 38% 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.

dcf
NYSE:DG Discounted Cash Flow September 5th 2023

The 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. 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 Dollar General 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 6.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.917. 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 Dollar General

Strength
  • Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.
Weakness
  • Earnings declined over the past year.
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Consumer Retailing market.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.
  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
  • Significant insider buying over the past 3 months.
Threat
  • Dividends are not covered by cash flow.
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Moving On:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for 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 instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Dollar General, we've put together three additional aspects you should further research:

  1. Risks: Be aware that Dollar General is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for DG's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  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 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 Dollar General 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.

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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.