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An Intrinsic Calculation For The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) Suggests It's 38% Undervalued

Does the September share price for The Ensign Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENSG) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

Check out our latest analysis for Ensign Group

What's The Estimated Valuation?

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. 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

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$242.0m

US$265.0m

US$282.0m

US$296.4m

US$308.6m

US$319.4m

US$329.0m

US$337.8m

US$346.2m

US$354.2m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x2

Analyst x1

Est @ 6.43%

Est @ 5.08%

Est @ 4.14%

Est @ 3.48%

Est @ 3.02%

Est @ 2.69%

Est @ 2.47%

Est @ 2.31%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 5.7%

US$229

US$237

US$238

US$237

US$233

US$228

US$222

US$216

US$209

US$203

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.3b

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 (1.9%) 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 5.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$354m× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (5.7%– 1.9%) = US$9.5b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$9.5b÷ ( 1 + 5.7%)10= US$5.4b

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$7.7b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$86.4, the company appears quite good value at a 38% 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.

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. 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 Ensign 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 5.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.898. 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. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/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. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Ensign Group, we've compiled three essential aspects you should explore:

  1. Financial Health: Does ENSG have a healthy balance sheet? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.

  2. Future Earnings: How does ENSG'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 American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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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