Stock Analysis

An Intrinsic Calculation For PQ Group Holdings Inc. (NYSE:PQG) Suggests It's 22% Undervalued

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Does the February share price for PQ Group Holdings Inc. (NYSE:PQG) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

See our latest analysis for PQ Group Holdings

The calculation

We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. 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.

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$167.0m US$159.0m US$195.0m US$207.2m US$217.6m US$226.5m US$234.4m US$241.5m US$248.2m US$254.5m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ 6.26% Est @ 4.99% Est @ 4.11% Est @ 3.49% Est @ 3.05% Est @ 2.75% Est @ 2.54%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.3% US$153 US$133 US$149 US$145 US$139 US$133 US$126 US$118 US$111 US$104

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.3b

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 9.3%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$254m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (9.3%– 2.0%) = US$3.6b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$3.6b÷ ( 1 + 9.3%)10= US$1.5b

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$2.8b. 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$15.8, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 22% 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:PQG Discounted Cash Flow February 22nd 2021

The assumptions

We would point out that the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate and of course the actual 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 PQ Group Holdings 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 9.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.391. 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 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. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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 PQ Group Holdings, we've compiled three fundamental elements you should further research:

  1. Risks: Take risks, for example - PQ Group Holdings has 3 warning signs (and 1 which is potentially serious) we think you should know about.
  2. Future Earnings: How does PQG'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 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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