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Are Investors Undervaluing Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE:ATGE) By 47%?

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·6 min read
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Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE:ATGE) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company's value, and a DCF is just one method. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for Adtalem Global Education

What's the estimated valuation?

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. 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$141.6m

US$164.9m

US$182.1m

US$196.5m

US$208.6m

US$218.8m

US$227.7m

US$235.6m

US$242.7m

US$249.3m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x2

Analyst x1

Est @ 10.43%

Est @ 7.91%

Est @ 6.15%

Est @ 4.92%

Est @ 4.05%

Est @ 3.45%

Est @ 3.03%

Est @ 2.73%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.3%

US$132

US$143

US$147

US$148

US$147

US$143

US$139

US$134

US$129

US$123

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.4b

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 (2.0%) 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 7.3%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$249m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.3%– 2.0%) = US$4.8b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$4.8b÷ ( 1 + 7.3%)10= US$2.4b

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$3.8b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$39.5, the company appears quite good value at a 47% 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

The assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Adtalem Global Education 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 7.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.006. 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:

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. 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 instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Adtalem Global Education, we've put together three essential elements you should further examine:

  1. Risks: For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Adtalem Global Education (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable) you should be aware of.

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

  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. 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 (at) simplywallst.com.