Does the August share price for New Fortress Energy LLC (NASDAQ:NFE) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.
Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at 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$124.2m||US$311.0m||US$316.2m||US$302.0m||US$295.1m||US$292.4m||US$292.4m||US$294.4m||US$297.8m||US$302.1m|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x5||Analyst x5||Analyst x2||Analyst x1||Est @ -2.28%||Est @ -0.93%||Est @ 0.02%||Est @ 0.68%||Est @ 1.14%||Est @ 1.46%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.6%||US$113||US$259||US$240||US$209||US$187||US$169||US$154||US$142||US$131||US$121|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.7b
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 2.2%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 9.6%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$302m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (9.6%– 2.2%) = US$4.2b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$4.2b÷ ( 1 + 9.6%)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$3.4b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$23.4, the company appears around fair value 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. Part of investing is coming up with your own evaluation of a company's future performance, so try the calculation yourself and check your own 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 New Fortress Energy 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 9.6%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.226. 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 shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For New Fortress Energy, we've compiled three fundamental aspects you should consider:
- Risks: Be aware that New Fortress Energy is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
- Future Earnings: How does NFE'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.
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.
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