Stock Analysis

PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTCT) Shares Could Be 35% Below Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

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NasdaqGS:PTCT
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In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of PTC Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTCT) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

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 want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for Therapeutics

The model

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. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. 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) estimate

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF ($, Millions) -US$234.7m -US$49.7m US$199.0m US$216.0m US$228.7m US$239.4m US$248.7m US$256.9m US$264.3m US$271.3m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 5.87% Est @ 4.7% Est @ 3.87% Est @ 3.3% Est @ 2.9% Est @ 2.62%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.2% -US$221 -US$44.0 US$166 US$170 US$169 US$167 US$163 US$158 US$154 US$148

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.0b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond 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 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (2.0%) 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 6.2%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$271m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (6.2%– 2.0%) = US$6.5b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$6.5b÷ ( 1 + 6.2%)10= US$3.5b

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$4.6b. 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$41.9, the company appears quite good value at a 35% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
NasdaqGS:PTCT Discounted Cash Flow December 27th 2021

The assumptions

Now 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 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 6.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.973. 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. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Therapeutics, there are three essential items you should explore:

  1. Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for Therapeutics you should be aware of.
  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 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. 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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