How far off is Computershare Limited (ASX:CPU) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, I am going to take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today’s value. This is done using the Discounted Cash Flows (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple! Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model. Please also note that this article was written in January 2019 so be sure check out the updated calculation by following the link below.

See our latest analysis for Computershare

### Crunching the numbers

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 five years. For this I used the consensus of the analysts covering the stock, as you can see below. I then discount this to its value today and sum up the total to get the present value of these cash flows.

#### 5-year cash flow forecast

2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | |

Levered FCF ($, Millions) | $481.25 | $507.00 | $572.75 | $621.95 | $633.00 |

Source | Analyst x4 | Analyst x5 | Analyst x4 | Analyst x2 | Analyst x1 |

Present Value Discounted @ 8.55% | $443.32 | $430.24 | $447.73 | $447.87 | $419.91 |

**Present Value of 5-year Cash Flow (PVCF)**= US$2.2b

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after the five years. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at an annual growth rate equal to the 10-year government bond rate of 2.8%. We discount this to today’s value at a cost of equity of 8.6%.

**Terminal Value (TV)** = FCF_{2023} × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$633m × (1 + 2.8%) ÷ (8.6% – 2.8%) = US$11b

**Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)** = TV / (1 + r)^{5} = US$11b ÷ ( 1 + 8.6%)^{5} = US$7.5b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next five years and the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$9.7b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. If the stock is an depositary receipt (represents a specified number of shares in a foreign corporation) then we use the equivalent number. **This results in an intrinsic value of A$25.06**. Compared to the current share price of A$16.93, the stock is quite undervalued at a 32% discount to what it is available for right now.

### Important assumptions

I’d like to 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 my inputs, I recommend redoing the calculations yourself and playing with them. Because we are looking at Computershare as potential shareholders, the cost of equity is used as the discount rate, rather than the cost of capital (or weighed average cost of capital, WACC) which accounts for debt. In this calculation I’ve used 8.6%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. This is derived from the Bottom-Up Beta method based on comparable companies, with an imposed limit between 0.8 and 2.0, which is a reasonable range for a stable business.

### Next Steps:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. What is the reason for the share price to differ from the intrinsic value? For CPU, I’ve compiled three pertinent aspects you should further examine:

**Financial Health**: Does CPU 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.**Future Earnings**: How does CPU’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**: Are there other high quality stocks you could be holding instead of CPU? 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 does a DCF calculation for every AU stock every 6 hours, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

*To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.*

*The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.*