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Is There An Opportunity With ChemoCentryx, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:CCXI) 47% Undervaluation?

Simply Wall St

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of ChemoCentryx, Inc. (NASDAQ:CCXI) by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. This is done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for ChemoCentryx

The calculation

We're 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 a stable growth rate. 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) estimate

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
Levered FCF ($, Millions) -US$89.4m -US$118.1m -US$79.0m US$34.3m US$136.2m US$227.8m US$336.3m US$450.1m US$559.1m US$656.8m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x2 Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Analyst x2 Est @ 67.26% Est @ 47.6% Est @ 33.84% Est @ 24.21% Est @ 17.47%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.7% -US$83.0 -US$101.8 -US$63.2 US$25.5 US$93.9 US$146 US$200 US$248 US$286 US$312

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.1b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the intial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond 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 10-year government bond rate (1.7%) 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 7.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2029 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$657m× (1 + 1.7%) ÷ 7.7%– 1.7%) = US$11b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$11b÷ ( 1 + 7.7%)10= US$5.3b

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$6.4b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$54.4, the company appears quite undervalued at a 47% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope - move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.

NasdaqGS:CCXI Intrinsic value May 11th 2020

Important assumptions

Now 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 ChemoCentryx 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 7.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.098. 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.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, DCF calculation shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. What is the reason for the share price to differ from the intrinsic value? For ChemoCentryx, There are three relevant aspects you should further examine:

  1. Risks: For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for ChemoCentryx that you should be aware of.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for CCXI'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 US stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.