In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited (TSE:CP) by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.
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. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
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 start off with, we need to estimate 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
|Levered FCF (CA$, Millions)||CA$1.78b||CA$1.85b||CA$2.10b||CA$2.24b||CA$2.34b||CA$2.43b||CA$2.51b||CA$2.58b||CA$2.64b||CA$2.70b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x14||Analyst x5||Analyst x1||Analyst x1||Est @ 4.67%||Est @ 3.77%||Est @ 3.14%||Est @ 2.69%||Est @ 2.38%||Est @ 2.17%|
|Present Value (CA$, Millions) Discounted @ 7.6%||CA$1.7k||CA$1.6k||CA$1.7k||CA$1.7k||CA$1.6k||CA$1.6k||CA$1.5k||CA$1.4k||CA$1.4k||CA$1.3k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CA$15b
After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond 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 1.7%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.6%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CA$2.7b× (1 + 1.7%) ÷ (7.6%– 1.7%) = CA$46b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CA$46b÷ ( 1 + 7.6%)10= CA$22b
The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is CA$38b. 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$351, the company appears slightly overvalued 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.
We would point out that 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 Canadian Pacific Railway 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 0.986. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess 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. If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. What is the reason for the share price exceeding the intrinsic value? For Canadian Pacific Railway, we've compiled three essential elements you should consider:
- Risks: You should be aware of the 1 warning sign for Canadian Pacific Railway we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.
- Future Earnings: How does CP'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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every CA stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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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