Stock Analysis

Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:PTEN) Intrinsic Value Is Potentially 60% Above Its Share Price

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NasdaqGS:PTEN
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How far off is Patterson-UTI Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTEN) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced 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.

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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for Patterson-UTI Energy

The model

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. 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, 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

2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$58.3m US$110.3m US$166.0m US$219.0m US$248.0m US$269.4m US$287.3m US$302.4m US$315.4m US$326.8m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x4 Analyst x5 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 8.62% Est @ 6.64% Est @ 5.26% Est @ 4.3% Est @ 3.62%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 13% US$51.8 US$87.2 US$117 US$137 US$138 US$133 US$126 US$118 US$109 US$101

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.1b

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 (2.0%) 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 13%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$327m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (13%– 2.0%) = US$3.2b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$3.2b÷ ( 1 + 13%)10= US$982m

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$2.1b. 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$7.0, the company appears quite undervalued at a 38% 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
NasdaqGS:PTEN Discounted Cash Flow March 25th 2021

The assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Patterson-UTI Energy 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 13%, which is based on a levered beta of 2.000. 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.

Next Steps:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for 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 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 sitting below the intrinsic value? For Patterson-UTI Energy, there are three fundamental aspects you should further examine:

  1. Risks: For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Patterson-UTI Energy that you should be aware of before investing here.
  2. Future Earnings: How does PTEN'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. 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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