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A Look At The Intrinsic Value Of China Mobile Limited (HKG:941)

How far off is China Mobile Limited (HKG:941) 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. If you are reading this and its not October 2018 then I highly recommend you check out the latest calculation for China Mobile by following the link below.

The method

I’m 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 perpetual stable growth rate. To start off with we need to estimate the next five years of cash flows. For this I used the consensus of the analysts covering the stock, as you can see below. I then discount the sum of these cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate.

5-year cash flow forecast

 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 Levered FCF (CN¥, Millions) CN¥98.69k CN¥91.59k CN¥95.65k CN¥82.00k CN¥85.20k Source Analyst x11 Analyst x10 Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ 3.9% Present Value Discounted @ 8.44% CN¥91.01k CN¥77.88k CN¥75.01k CN¥59.30k CN¥56.82k

Present Value of 5-year Cash Flow (PVCF)= CN¥360.0b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the intial 5-year period we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows beyond the first stage. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at an annual growth rate equal to the 10-year government bond rate of 2.2%. We discount this to today’s value at a cost of equity of 8.4%.

Terminal Value (TV) = FCF2022 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CN¥85.2b × (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (8.4% – 2.2%) = CN¥1.4t

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV) = TV / (1 + r)5 = CN¥1.4t ÷ ( 1 + 8.4%)5 = CN¥930.9b

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 CN¥1.3t. 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 in the company’s reported currency of CN¥63.05. However, 941’s primary listing is in Hong Kong, and 1 share of 941 in CNY represents 1.132 ( CNY/ HKD) share of NYSE:CHL, so the intrinsic value per share in HKD is HK\$71.35. Compared to the current share price of HK\$77.85, the stock is fair value, maybe slightly overvalued at the time of writing.

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 China Mobile 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 8.4%, 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:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. For 941, I’ve put together three fundamental factors you should further examine:

1. Financial Health: Does 941 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 941’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: Are there other high quality stocks you could be holding instead of 941? 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 HK 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.