NYSE:AES) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today’s value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they’re fairly easy to follow.” data-reactid=”28″ type=”text”>Today we’ll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today’s value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they’re fairly easy to follow.
Simply Wall St analysis model.” data-reactid=”29″ type=”text”>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. 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.
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. 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, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today’s dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$726.7m||US$915.5m||US$1.06b||US$1.18b||US$1.28b||US$1.37b||US$1.44b||US$1.51b||US$1.56b||US$1.62b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x3||Analyst x2||Est @ 15.49%||Est @ 11.51%||Est @ 8.72%||Est @ 6.77%||Est @ 5.41%||Est @ 4.45%||Est @ 3.78%||Est @ 3.31%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.4%||US$670||US$779||US$830||US$854||US$856||US$844||US$820||US$790||US$757||US$721|
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 (2.2%) 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 8.4%.
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$27b÷ ( 1 + 8.4%)10= US$12b” data-reactid=”44″ type=”text”>Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$27b÷ ( 1 + 8.4%)10= US$12b
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$20b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$17.9, the company appears quite undervalued at a 40% 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 AES 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 8.4%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.028. 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.
Whilst important, the DCF calculation is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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 AES, we’ve compiled three important factors you should explore:
- Risks: As an example, we’ve found 5 warning signs for AES (1 is a bit concerning!) that you need to consider before investing here.
- Future Earnings: How does AES’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 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!
search here.” data-reactid=”70″ type=”text”>PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.
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.