An Intrinsic Calculation For Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATSG) Suggests It's 35% Undervalued
Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, Air Transport Services Group fair value estimate is US$31.19
Air Transport Services Group's US$20.22 share price signals that it might be 35% undervalued
The US$33.20 analyst price target for ATSG is 6.4% more than our estimate of fair value
Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATSG) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.
We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.
View our latest analysis for Air Transport Services Group
We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. To begin with, we have to get estimates of the next ten years of cash flows. Where possible we use analyst estimates, but when these aren't available we extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the last estimate or reported value. We assume companies with shrinking free cash flow will slow their rate of shrinkage, and that companies with growing free cash flow will see their growth rate slow, over this period. We do this to reflect that growth tends to slow more in the early years than it does in later years.
A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
Levered FCF ($, Millions)
Growth Rate Estimate Source
Est @ 22.49%
Est @ 16.37%
Est @ 12.08%
Est @ 9.08%
Est @ 6.97%
Est @ 5.50%
Est @ 4.47%
Est @ 3.75%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 11%
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.0b
We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 2.1%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 11%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$294m× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (11%– 2.1%) = US$3.4b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$3.4b÷ ( 1 + 11%)10= US$1.2b
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$2.2b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$20.2, the company appears quite undervalued at a 35% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.
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. 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 Air Transport Services Group 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 11%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.485. 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 Air Transport Services Group
Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.
Earnings declined over the past year.
Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.
Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.
Although the valuation of a company is important, 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. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Air Transport Services Group, we've compiled three further elements you should consider:
Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 1 warning sign for Air Transport Services Group you should be aware of.
Future Earnings: How does ATSG'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 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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NASDAQGS 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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