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Are Investors Undervaluing LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (NYSE:LYB) By 32%?

·6 min read

In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (NYSE:LYB) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

Check out our latest analysis for LyondellBasell Industries

Step by step through the calculation

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 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

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$1.64b

US$2.29b

US$2.85b

US$3.27b

US$3.30b

US$3.33b

US$3.38b

US$3.43b

US$3.49b

US$3.56b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x9

Analyst x5

Analyst x4

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Est @ 1.14%

Est @ 1.41%

Est @ 1.6%

Est @ 1.73%

Est @ 1.82%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.3%

US$1.5k

US$1.9k

US$2.2k

US$2.4k

US$2.2k

US$2.1k

US$1.9k

US$1.8k

US$1.7k

US$1.6k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$19b

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 (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 8.3%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$3.6b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (8.3%– 2.0%) = US$58b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$58b÷ ( 1 + 8.3%)10= US$26b

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$46b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$93.8, the company appears quite undervalued at a 32% 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

Important 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. If you don't agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 LyondellBasell Industries 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 8.3%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.191. 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:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching 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?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For LyondellBasell Industries, there are three important factors you should assess:

  1. Risks: As an example, we've found 6 warning signs for LyondellBasell Industries that you need to consider before investing here.

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

  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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the NYSE every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks 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.