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Is BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) Trading At A 40% Discount?

Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for BlueScope Steel is AU$33.44 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity

  • Current share price of AU$20.13 suggests BlueScope Steel is potentially 40% undervalued

  • The AU$21.43 analyst price target for BSL is 36% less than our estimate of fair value

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back 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.

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 still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for BlueScope Steel

What's The Estimated Valuation?

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, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

2033

Levered FCF (A$, Millions)

AU$757.4m

AU$292.8m

AU$880.2m

AU$932.0m

AU$929.0m

AU$932.9m

AU$941.4m

AU$953.3m

AU$967.7m

AU$984.0m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x5

Analyst x5

Analyst x5

Analyst x2

Analyst x2

Est @ 0.42%

Est @ 0.92%

Est @ 1.27%

Est @ 1.51%

Est @ 1.68%

Present Value (A$, Millions) Discounted @ 7.6%

AU$704

AU$253

AU$707

AU$695

AU$644

AU$601

AU$564

AU$531

AU$501

AU$473

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = AU$5.7b

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 (2.1%) 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 7.6%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = AU$984m× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (7.6%– 2.1%) = AU$18b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= AU$18b÷ ( 1 + 7.6%)10= AU$8.7b

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 AU$14b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of AU$20.1, the company appears quite good value at a 40% 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

The Assumptions

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 BlueScope Steel 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 7.6%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.104. 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 BlueScope Steel

Strength

  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.

  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.

Weakness

  • Earnings declined over the past year.

  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Metals and Mining market.

Opportunity

  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.

Threat

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

Looking Ahead:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching 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 instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For BlueScope Steel, we've compiled three pertinent aspects you should further research:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with BlueScope Steel (at least 1 which can't be ignored) , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.

  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for BSL'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 Australian 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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