Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE:SQM) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.
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 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$167.6m||US$395.0m||US$578.7m||US$591.5m||US$603.4m||US$615.5m||US$627.8m||US$640.3m||US$653.1m||US$666.1m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x5||Analyst x4||Analyst x3||Analyst x2||Est @ 2.01%||Est @ 2%||Est @ 2%||Est @ 2%||Est @ 1.99%||Est @ 1.99%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.5%||US$156||US$342||US$465||US$442||US$420||US$398||US$378||US$358||US$340||US$322|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$3.6b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 7.5%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$666m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.5%– 2.0%) = US$12b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$12b÷ ( 1 + 7.5%)10= US$5.9b
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$9.6b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$47.5, the company appears reasonably expensive at the time of writing. 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.
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. 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 Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile 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 7.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.025. 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. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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. Why is the intrinsic value lower than the current share price? For Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile, we've compiled three essential elements you should further research:
- Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile you should know about.
- Future Earnings: How does SQM'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. 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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