Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Alkermes plc (NASDAQ:ALKS) by estimating the company’s future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. I will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
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, 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$60.8m||-US$48.7m||-US$64.9m||US$203.3m||US$341.8m||US$423.0m||US$495.6m||US$557.6m||US$609.5m||US$652.3m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x3||Analyst x2||Est @ 33.19%||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Est @ 23.76%||Est @ 17.15%||Est @ 12.53%||Est @ 9.29%||Est @ 7.03%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 10%||-US$55.2||-US$40.1||-US$48.5||US$138||US$211||US$237||US$252||US$257||US$255||US$248|
(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.5b
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 10-year government bond rate (1.7%) 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 10%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2029 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$652m× (1 + 1.7%) ÷ 10%– 1.7%) = US$7.9b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$7.9b÷ ( 1 + 10%)10= US$3.0b
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$4.5b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$20.0, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 29% 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.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the cash flows. If you don’t agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 Alkermes 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 10%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.291. 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.
Whilst important, DCF calculation shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching 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?” 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 to differ from the intrinsic value? For Alkermes, I’ve put together three essential aspects you should look at:
- Financial Health: Does ALKS have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
- Future Earnings: How does ALKS’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: Are there other high quality stocks you could be holding instead of ALKS? 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 US stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.