Is General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) Trading At A 29% Discount?

·6 min read

Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, General Dynamics fair value estimate is US$308

  • General Dynamics is estimated to be 29% undervalued based on current share price of US$220

  • The US$268 analyst price target for GD is 13% less than our estimate of fair value

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

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. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

See our latest analysis for General Dynamics

What's The Estimated Valuation?

We're 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 a stable growth rate. 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, 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

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$3.70b

US$4.13b

US$4.31b

US$4.59b

US$4.74b

US$4.88b

US$5.00b

US$5.12b

US$5.24b

US$5.36b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x8

Analyst x9

Analyst x7

Analyst x3

Analyst x2

Est @ 2.79%

Est @ 2.58%

Est @ 2.43%

Est @ 2.32%

Est @ 2.24%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.2%

US$3.5k

US$3.6k

US$3.5k

US$3.5k

US$3.3k

US$3.2k

US$3.1k

US$2.9k

US$2.8k

US$2.7k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$32b

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 7.2%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$5.4b× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (7.2%– 2.1%) = US$106b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$106b÷ ( 1 + 7.2%)10= US$53b

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 US$85b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$220, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 29% 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. Part of investing is coming up with your own evaluation of a company's future performance, so try the calculation yourself and check your own 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 General Dynamics 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 7.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.871. 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 General Dynamics

Strength

  • Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.

  • Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.

  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.

Weakness

  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Aerospace & Defense market.

Opportunity

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

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

Threat

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Looking Ahead:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For General Dynamics, we've put together three pertinent items you should further examine:

  1. Risks: You should be aware of the 1 warning sign for General Dynamics we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.

  2. Future Earnings: How does GD'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 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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks 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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