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Is There An Opportunity With BCE Inc.'s (TSE:BCE) 42% Undervaluation?

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·5-min read
In this article:
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Does the May share price for BCE Inc. (TSE:BCE) 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 their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. 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 BCE

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. 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.

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 (CA$, Millions)

CA$3.16b

CA$3.87b

CA$4.40b

CA$4.21b

CA$4.10b

CA$4.05b

CA$4.04b

CA$4.05b

CA$4.07b

CA$4.11b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x11

Analyst x10

Analyst x3

Analyst x1

Est @ -2.39%

Est @ -1.21%

Est @ -0.38%

Est @ 0.2%

Est @ 0.61%

Est @ 0.9%

Present Value (CA$, Millions) Discounted @ 5.0%

CA$3.0k

CA$3.5k

CA$3.8k

CA$3.5k

CA$3.2k

CA$3.0k

CA$2.9k

CA$2.7k

CA$2.6k

CA$2.5k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CA$31b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. 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 1.6%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 5.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CA$4.1b× (1 + 1.6%) ÷ (5.0%– 1.6%) = CA$123b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CA$123b÷ ( 1 + 5.0%)10= CA$76b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is CA$107b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of CA$67.5, the company appears quite undervalued at a 42% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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.

dcf
dcf

Important 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 BCE 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 5.0%, 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.

Looking Ahead:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For BCE, we've put together three pertinent elements you should explore:

  1. Risks: For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for BCE (1 doesn't sit too well with us) you should be aware of.

  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for BCE's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.

  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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every Canadian stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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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