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Is There An Opportunity With Allkem Limited's (ASX:AKE) 40% Undervaluation?

·6 min read

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Allkem Limited (ASX:AKE) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. 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. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

View our latest analysis for Allkem

The Method

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 begin with, we have to get estimates of 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, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$385.3m

US$579.4m

US$655.8m

US$1.08b

US$811.2m

US$665.3m

US$585.2m

US$539.1m

US$512.3m

US$497.3m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x5

Analyst x6

Analyst x5

Analyst x2

Analyst x1

Est @ -17.98%

Est @ -12.04%

Est @ -7.88%

Est @ -4.97%

Est @ -2.93%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 6.5%

US$362

US$511

US$543

US$842

US$592

US$456

US$376

US$325

US$290

US$265

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$4.6b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond the first stage. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 1.8%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.5%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$497m× (1 + 1.8%) ÷ (6.5%– 1.8%) = US$11b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$11b÷ ( 1 + 6.5%)10= US$5.8b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$10b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of AU$13.9, the company appears quite good value at a 40% 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

Important Assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Allkem 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 6.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.105. 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:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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 example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Allkem, there are three important elements you should further research:

  1. Financial Health: Does AKE 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 AKE'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. The Simply Wall St app conducts a discounted cash flow valuation for every stock on the ASX every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks 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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