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An Intrinsic Calculation For Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) Suggests It's 48% Undervalued
Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Conagra Brands, Inc. (NYSE:CAG) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.
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.
See our latest analysis for Conagra Brands
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 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) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$1.07b||US$1.21b||US$1.39b||US$1.54b||US$1.59b||US$1.62b||US$1.66b||US$1.70b||US$1.73b||US$1.77b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x4||Analyst x6||Analyst x4||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 2.41%||Est @ 2.28%||Est @ 2.2%||Est @ 2.13%||Est @ 2.09%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.2%||US$1.0k||US$1.1k||US$1.2k||US$1.2k||US$1.2k||US$1.1k||US$1.1k||US$1.1k||US$1.0k||US$973|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$11b
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 6.2%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.8b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (6.2%– 2.0%) = US$43b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$43b÷ ( 1 + 6.2%)10= US$24b
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$35b. 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$37.7, the company appears quite good value at a 48% 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.
Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual 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 Conagra Brands 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 6.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.885. 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.
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. 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?" 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. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Conagra Brands, we've put together three further items you should explore:
- Risks: To that end, you should be aware of the 3 warning signs we've spotted with Conagra Brands .
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for CAG's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- 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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Conagra Brands, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a consumer packaged goods food company in North America.
Undervalued average dividend payer.