Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present 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. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Step By Step Through The Calculation
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) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$1.75b||US$1.91b||US$1.97b||US$2.02b||US$2.08b||US$2.12b||US$2.17b||US$2.22b||US$2.26b||US$2.31b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x3||Analyst x3||Est @ 3.13%||Est @ 2.77%||Est @ 2.52%||Est @ 2.35%||Est @ 2.23%||Est @ 2.14%||Est @ 2.08%||Est @ 2.04%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 5.3%||US$1.7k||US$1.7k||US$1.7k||US$1.6k||US$1.6k||US$1.6k||US$1.5k||US$1.5k||US$1.4k||US$1.4k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$16b
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. 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 1.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 5.3%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.3b× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (5.3%– 1.9%) = US$69b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$69b÷ ( 1 + 5.3%)10= US$41b
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$57b. 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$227, the company appears about fair value at a 18% 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.
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 Hershey 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 5.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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 ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For Hershey, we've put together three relevant factors you should explore:
- Risks: We feel that you should assess the 1 warning sign for Hershey we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
- Future Earnings: How does HSY'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.
Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.
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.
Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.
Find out whether Hershey 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.View the Free Analysis