Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!
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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
Is Alnylam Pharmaceuticals fairly valued?
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.
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) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||-US$330.3m||-US$166.9m||US$146.0m||US$520.0m||US$1.00b||US$1.41b||US$1.83b||US$2.22b||US$2.56b||US$2.86b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x5||Analyst x5||Analyst x2||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ 41.31%||Est @ 29.53%||Est @ 21.28%||Est @ 15.51%||Est @ 11.47%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.3%||-US$308||-US$145||US$118||US$392||US$702||US$924||US$1.1k||US$1.3k||US$1.4k||US$1.4k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$6.8b
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 7.3%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.9b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.3%– 2.0%) = US$55b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$55b÷ ( 1 + 7.3%)10= US$27b
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$34b. 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$155, the company appears quite good value at a 47% 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.
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 Alnylam Pharmaceuticals 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 7.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.013. 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, the DCF calculation ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize 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?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, we've put together three important items you should further research:
- Risks: For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for Alnylam Pharmaceuticals that you should be aware of.
- Future Earnings: How does ALNY'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 Solid Businesses: Low debt, high returns on equity and good past performance are fundamental to a strong business. Why not explore our interactive list of stocks with solid business fundamentals to see if there are other companies you may not have considered!
PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NASDAQGS every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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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. 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.
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