Stock Analysis

# Is American Electric Power Company, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEP) Worth US\$92.1 Based On Its Intrinsic Value?

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Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of American Electric Power Company, Inc. (NASDAQ:AEP) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for American Electric Power Company

## The Method

We have to calculate the value of American Electric Power Company slightly differently to other stocks because it is a electric utilities company. Instead of using free cash flows, which are hard to estimate and often not reported by analysts in this industry, dividends per share (DPS) payments are used. Unless a company pays out the majority of its FCF as a dividend, this method will typically underestimate the value of the stock. We use the Gordon Growth Model, which assumes dividend will grow into perpetuity at a rate that can be sustained. The dividend is expected to grow at an annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 2.1%. We then discount this figure to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.8%. Relative to the current share price of US\$92.1, the company appears slightly overvalued at the time of writing. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

Value Per Share = Expected Dividend Per Share / (Discount Rate - Perpetual Growth Rate)

= US\$3.6 / (6.8% – 2.1%)

= US\$76.0

## The Assumptions

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 American Electric Power Company 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 6.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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.

### SWOT Analysis for American Electric Power Company

Strength
• Debt is well covered by earnings.
Weakness
• Earnings growth over the past year underperformed the Electric Utilities industry.
• Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Electric Utilities market.
• Shareholders have been diluted in the past year.
Opportunity
• Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 4 years.
• Good value based on P/E ratio compared to estimated Fair P/E ratio.
Threat
• Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.
• Paying a dividend but company has no free cash flows.
• Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.

## Moving On:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation 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 American Electric Power Company, we've put together three relevant items you should further examine:

1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with American Electric Power Company (at least 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
2. Future Earnings: How does AEP'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.

### Valuation is complex, but we're helping make it simple.

Find out whether American Electric Power Company is potentially over or undervalued by checking out our comprehensive analysis, which includes fair value estimates, risks and warnings, dividends, insider transactions and financial health.

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