In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Rackspace Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RXT) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.
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.
Crunching the numbers
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 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$280.9m||US$340.4m||US$341.5m||US$344.3m||US$348.4m||US$353.4m||US$359.1m||US$365.4m||US$372.1m||US$379.2m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x5||Analyst x4||Analyst x1||Est @ 0.82%||Est @ 1.19%||Est @ 1.44%||Est @ 1.62%||Est @ 1.75%||Est @ 1.83%||Est @ 1.9%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 10%||US$254||US$279||US$254||US$231||US$212||US$195||US$179||US$165||US$152||US$140|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.1b
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 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 10%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$379m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (10%– 2.0%) = US$4.6b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$4.6b÷ ( 1 + 10%)10= US$1.7b
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$3.8b. 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$24.6, the company appears reasonably expensive 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.
Now 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 Rackspace Technology 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 1.606. 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.
Although the valuation of a company is important, 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. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a premium to intrinsic value? For Rackspace Technology, we've compiled three additional elements you should further examine:
- Risks: For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Rackspace Technology that you should be aware of before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does RXT'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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