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Is Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) Expensive For A Reason? A Look At Its Intrinsic Value

Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for Consolidated Edison is US$70.69 based on Dividend Discount Model

  • Current share price of US$90.62 suggests Consolidated Edison is potentially 28% overvalued

  • Analyst price target for ED is US$88.50, which is 25% above our fair value estimate

Does the March share price for Consolidated Edison, Inc. (NYSE:ED) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

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See our latest analysis for Consolidated Edison

Crunching The Numbers

We have to calculate the value of Consolidated Edison slightly differently to other stocks because it is a integrated 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. This often underestimates the value of a stock, but it can still be good as a comparison to competitors. 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%. Compared to the current share price of US$90.6, the company appears slightly overvalued at the time of writing. 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.

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

= US$3.4 / (6.8% – 2.1%)

= US$70.7

dcf
dcf

Important Assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Consolidated Edison 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 Consolidated Edison

Strength

  • Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.

  • Debt is well covered by earnings.

Weakness

  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Integrated Utilities market.

Opportunity

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.

  • Good value based on P/E ratio compared to estimated Fair P/E ratio.

  • Significant insider buying over the past 3 months.

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.

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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 exceeding the intrinsic value? For Consolidated Edison, we've put together three relevant aspects you should explore:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with Consolidated Edison (at least 1 which is significant) , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

  2. Future Earnings: How does ED'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 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 NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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