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Estimating The Fair Value Of Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL)

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·6 min read
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Does the July share price for Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) 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. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for Ball

The method

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. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. 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, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$878.8m

US$1.13b

US$1.31b

US$1.47b

US$1.61b

US$1.72b

US$1.82b

US$1.90b

US$1.98b

US$2.04b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x9

Analyst x1

Est @ 16.5%

Est @ 12.21%

Est @ 9.22%

Est @ 7.12%

Est @ 5.65%

Est @ 4.62%

Est @ 3.9%

Est @ 3.4%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.6%

US$817

US$972

US$1.1k

US$1.1k

US$1.1k

US$1.1k

US$1.1k

US$1.1k

US$1.0k

US$983

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

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after the first stage. 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 (2.2%) 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)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.0b× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (7.6%– 2.2%) = US$39b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$39b÷ ( 1 + 7.6%)10= US$19b

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$29b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$73.5, the company appears about fair value at a 17% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.

dcf
dcf

Important assumptions

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 Ball 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 0.894. 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.

Moving On:

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. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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. For Ball, there are three further items you should explore:

  1. Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 3 warning signs for Ball you should be aware of, and 1 of them is concerning.

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

  3. Other High Quality Alternatives: Do you like a good all-rounder? Explore our interactive list of high quality stocks to get an idea of what else is out there you may be missing!

PS. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every American 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.