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Is There An Opportunity With China Coal Energy Company Limited's (HKG:1898) 41% Undervaluation?

Simply Wall St

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How far off is China Coal Energy Company Limited (HKG:1898) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we'll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. I will use 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. If you want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for China Coal Energy

Step by step through the calculation

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. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. 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 discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
Levered FCF (CN¥, Millions) CN¥6.9b CN¥8.5b CN¥7.9b CN¥7.6b CN¥7.4b CN¥7.3b CN¥7.3b CN¥7.3b CN¥7.4b CN¥7.5b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ -6.91% Est @ -4.24% Est @ -2.36% Est @ -1.05% Est @ -0.14% Est @ 0.51% Est @ 0.95% Est @ 1.27%
Present Value (CN¥, Millions) Discounted @ 12.82% CN¥6.1k CN¥6.7k CN¥5.5k CN¥4.7k CN¥4.0k CN¥3.5k CN¥3.1k CN¥2.8k CN¥2.5k CN¥2.2k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF)= CN¥41.2b

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 (2%) 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 12.8%.

Terminal Value (TV) = FCF2029 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CN¥7.5b × (1 + 2%) ÷ (12.8% – 2%) = CN¥71b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV) = TV / (1 + r)10 = CN¥CN¥71b ÷ ( 1 + 12.8%)10 = CN¥21.14b

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is CN¥62.33b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. This results in an intrinsic value estimate in the company’s reported currency of CN¥4.7. However, 1898’s primary listing is in China, and 1 share of 1898 in CNY represents 1.138 ( CNY/ HKD) share of SEHK:1898, so the intrinsic value per share in HKD is HK$5.35. Relative to the current share price of HK$3.13, the company appears quite good value at a 41% 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.

SEHK:1898 Intrinsic value, July 16th 2019

The 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 China Coal Energy 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 12.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.815. 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:

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. 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 China Coal Energy, There are three further factors you should further research:

  1. Financial Health: Does 1898 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 1898'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 1898? 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 HKG every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.