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Calculating The Fair Value Of Advanced Drainage Systems Inc (NYSE:WMS)

How far off is Advanced Drainage Systems Inc (NYSE:WMS) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, I am going to take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by estimating the company’s future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. I will be using the Discounted Cash Flows (DCF) model. Don’t get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model. Please also note that this article was written in December 2018 so be sure check out the updated calculation by following the link below.

See our latest analysis for Advanced Drainage Systems

Is WMS fairly valued?

I’m using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company’s growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have perpetual stable growth rate. To start off with we need to estimate the next five years of cash flows. For this I used the consensus of the analysts covering the stock, as you can see below. I then discount the sum of these cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate.

5-year cash flow estimate

2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Levered FCF ($, Millions) $126.72 $148.41 $155.41 $162.75 $170.43
Source Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ 4.72% Est @ 4.72% Est @ 4.72%
Present Value Discounted @ 12.69% $112.46 $116.87 $108.61 $100.94 $93.80

Present Value of 5-year Cash Flow (PVCF)= US$533m

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after the five years. For a number of reasons a very conservative growth rate is used that cannot exceed that of the GDP. In this case I have used the 10-year government bond rate (2.9%). In the same way as with the 5-year ‘growth’ period, we discount this to today’s value at a cost of equity of 12.7%.

Terminal Value (TV) = FCF2022 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$170m × (1 + 2.9%) ÷ (12.7% – 2.9%) = US$1.8b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV) = TV / (1 + r)5 = US$1.8b ÷ ( 1 + 12.7%)5 = US$992m

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the cash flows, which in this case is US$1.5b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. If the stock is an depositary receipt (represents a specified number of shares in a foreign corporation) or ADR then we use the equivalent number. This results in an intrinsic value of $26.68. Relative to the current share price of $25.75, the stock is about right, perhaps slightly undervalued at a 3.5% discount to what it is available for right now.

NYSE:WMS Intrinsic Value Export December 10th 18

The 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 my result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the assumptions. Because we are looking at Advanced Drainage Systems as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighed average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation I’ve used 12.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.381. This is derived from the Bottom-Up Beta method based on comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.

Next Steps:

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. For WMS, I’ve compiled three essential aspects you should further research:

  1. Financial Health: Does WMS have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Future Earnings: How does WMS’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 High Quality Alternatives: Are there other high quality stocks you could be holding instead of WMS? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

PS. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow for every stock on the NYSE every 6 hours. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.