Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Aramark (NYSE:ARMK) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. 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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Crunching the numbers
We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company's cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. 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, 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$455.0m||US$564.1m||US$650.7m||US$720.0m||US$771.2m||US$814.3m||US$850.9m||US$882.8m||US$911.2m||US$937.2m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x9||Analyst x8||Analyst x3||Analyst x3||Est @ 7.12%||Est @ 5.58%||Est @ 4.5%||Est @ 3.75%||Est @ 3.22%||Est @ 2.85%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 10%||US$413||US$465||US$487||US$489||US$476||US$456||US$433||US$407||US$382||US$356|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$4.4b
The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. 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 2.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 10%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$937m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (10%– 2.0%) = US$12b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$12b÷ ( 1 + 10%)10= US$4.5b
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$8.8b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$33.1, the company appears about fair value at a 4.1% 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.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Aramark 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 10%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.729. 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.
Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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 Aramark, we've compiled three fundamental elements you should consider:
- Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for Aramark you should be aware of.
- Future Earnings: How does ARMK'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 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.
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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.
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Aramark provides food, facilities, and uniform services to education, healthcare, business and industry, sports, leisure, and corrections clients in the United States and internationally.
Moderate growth potential with acceptable track record.