Is Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ:WDC) Trading At A 39% Discount?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 11, 2022
NasdaqGS:WDC
Source: Shutterstock

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ:WDC) by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!

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.

See our latest analysis for Western Digital

The calculation

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$1.92b US$1.98b US$2.04b US$2.09b US$2.14b US$2.19b US$2.23b US$2.28b US$2.33b US$2.37b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Est @ 2.73% Est @ 2.5% Est @ 2.34% Est @ 2.22% Est @ 2.14% Est @ 2.09% Est @ 2.05% Est @ 2.02%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.9% US$1.8k US$1.7k US$1.6k US$1.5k US$1.5k US$1.4k US$1.3k US$1.2k US$1.2k US$1.1k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$14b

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 7.9%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.4b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.9%– 2.0%) = US$41b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$41b÷ ( 1 + 7.9%)10= US$19b

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$33b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$65.5, the company appears quite good value at a 39% 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.

dcf
NasdaqGS:WDC Discounted Cash Flow January 11th 2022

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 Western Digital 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 7.9%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.361. 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.

Looking Ahead:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess 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 instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For Western Digital, there are three further elements you should look at:

  1. Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 4 warning signs for Western Digital (of which 1 is a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for WDC's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  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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