Stock Analysis

A Look At The Intrinsic Value Of Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC)

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NYSE:MPC
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How far off is Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) 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. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!

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.

View our latest analysis for Marathon Petroleum

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. 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, 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

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$4.85b US$4.78b US$4.08b US$4.24b US$4.10b US$4.02b US$4.00b US$4.00b US$4.03b US$4.07b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x4 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ -3.37% Est @ -1.77% Est @ -0.65% Est @ 0.13% Est @ 0.68% Est @ 1.06%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.5% US$4.4k US$4.0k US$3.1k US$2.9k US$2.6k US$2.3k US$2.1k US$1.9k US$1.8k US$1.6k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$27b

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 9.5%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$4.1b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (9.5%– 2.0%) = US$55b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$55b÷ ( 1 + 9.5%)10= US$22b

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$49b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$74.7, the company appears about fair value at a 5.9% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.

dcf
NYSE:MPC Discounted Cash Flow January 18th 2022

Important assumptions

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 Marathon Petroleum 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 9.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.730. 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. 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?" For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For Marathon Petroleum, there are three fundamental items you should explore:

  1. Risks: We feel that you should assess the 2 warning signs for Marathon Petroleum (1 shouldn't be ignored!) we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for MPC's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  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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