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An Intrinsic Calculation For Airtel Africa Plc (LON:AAF) Suggests It's 48% Undervalued

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Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Airtel Africa Plc (LON:AAF) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!

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.

View our latest analysis for Airtel Africa

Crunching the numbers

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. 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 need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$532.0m

US$544.5m

US$599.0m

US$437.0m

US$390.4m

US$362.4m

US$345.2m

US$334.6m

US$328.4m

US$325.0m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x2

Analyst x2

Analyst x2

Analyst x1

Est @ -10.66%

Est @ -7.18%

Est @ -4.75%

Est @ -3.05%

Est @ -1.86%

Est @ -1.03%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 5.2%

US$506

US$492

US$515

US$357

US$303

US$268

US$243

US$224

US$209

US$196

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$3.3b

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 0.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 5.2%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$325m× (1 + 0.9%) ÷ (5.2%– 0.9%) = US$7.7b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$7.7b÷ ( 1 + 5.2%)10= US$4.7b

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$8.0b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of UK£0.8, the company appears quite good value at a 48% 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

The 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. 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 Airtel Africa 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 5.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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.

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for 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. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Airtel Africa, we've compiled three important aspects you should look at:

  1. Risks: Be aware that Airtel Africa is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit unpleasant...

  2. Future Earnings: How does AAF'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: 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 British 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 (at) simplywallst.com.