Stock Analysis

Estimating The Intrinsic Value Of PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTCT)

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NasdaqGS:PTCT
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Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTCT) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

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.

Check out our latest analysis for Therapeutics

Is Therapeutics fairly valued?

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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF ($, Millions) -US$232.0m US$35.7m US$333.0m US$261.0m US$221.8m US$199.8m US$187.1m US$179.9m US$176.1m US$174.6m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ -15.02% Est @ -9.92% Est @ -6.35% Est @ -3.85% Est @ -2.1% Est @ -0.87%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.0% -US$217 US$31.2 US$272 US$199 US$158 US$133 US$117 US$105 US$95.9 US$88.9

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$983m

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 7.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$175m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.0%– 2.0%) = US$3.6b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$3.6b÷ ( 1 + 7.0%)10= US$1.8b

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$2.8b. 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$42.5, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. 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.

dcf
NasdaqGS:PTCT Discounted Cash Flow September 9th 2021

Important 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. 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 Therapeutics 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 7.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.058. 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 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. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For Therapeutics, there are three essential elements you should explore:

  1. Risks: We feel that you should assess the 2 warning signs for Therapeutics we've flagged before making an investment in the company.
  2. Future Earnings: How does PTCT'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. 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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