Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of The Howard Hughes Corporation (NYSE:HHC) 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. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.
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. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.
What's the estimated valuation?
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 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, 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) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$326.2m||US$432.6m||US$457.5m||US$483.8m||US$504.4m||US$522.8m||US$539.6m||US$555.4m||US$570.4m||US$585.1m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 4.26%||Est @ 3.65%||Est @ 3.22%||Est @ 2.92%||Est @ 2.71%||Est @ 2.56%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 13%||US$289||US$339||US$317||US$297||US$274||US$251||US$230||US$209||US$190||US$173|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.6b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 (2.2%) 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 13%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$585m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (13%– 2.2%) = US$5.6b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$5.6b÷ ( 1 + 13%)10= US$1.6b
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$4.2b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$62.0, the company appears about fair value at a 20% 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.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Howard Hughes 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 13%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.789. 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 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. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For Howard Hughes, we've put together three relevant elements you should consider:
- Risks: Be aware that Howard Hughes is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is concerning...
- Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for HHC's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
- 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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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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