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Is Rentokil Initial plc (LON:RTO) Expensive For A Reason? A Look At The Intrinsic Value

Today I will be providing a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Rentokil Initial plc (LON:RTO) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to todayâ€™s value. I will be using the Discounted Cash Flows (DCF) model. Donâ€™t get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model. Please also note that this article was written in October 2018 so be sure check out the updated calculation by following the link below.

The calculation

I use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of varying growth rates for the companyâ€™s cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a more stable growth phase. To begin with we have to get estimates of 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 estimate

 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 Levered FCF (Â£, Millions) Â£263.73 Â£284.76 Â£304.68 Â£325.99 Â£348.79 Source Analyst x7 Analyst x5 Est @ 6.99% Est @ 6.99% Est @ 6.99% Present Value Discounted @ 8.28% Â£243.56 Â£242.88 Â£239.99 Â£237.15 Â£234.33

Present Value of 5-year Cash Flow (PVCF)= UKÂ£1.2b

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. For a number of reasons a very conservative growth rate is used that cannot exceed that of the GDP. In this case I have used the 10-year government bond rate (1.4%). In the same way as with the 5-year â€˜growthâ€™ period, we discount this to todayâ€™s value at a cost of equity of 8.3%.

Terminal Value (TV) = FCF2022 Ã— (1 + g) Ã· (r â€“ g) = UKÂ£349m Ã— (1 + 1.4%) Ã· (8.3% â€“ 1.4%) = UKÂ£5.1b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV) = TV / (1 + r)5 = UKÂ£5.1b Ã· ( 1 + 8.3%)5 = UKÂ£3.5b

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 UKÂ£4.7b. In the final step we 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) or ADR then we use the equivalent number. This results in an intrinsic value of Â£2.53. Relative to the current share price of Â£3.26, the stock is fair value, maybe slightly overvalued and not available at a discount at this time.

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 donâ€™t agree with my result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the assumptions. Because we are looking at Rentokil Initial 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 Iâ€™ve used 8.3%, 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:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it shouldnâ€™t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. What is the reason for the share price to differ from the intrinsic value? For RTO, there are three key aspects you should further research:

1. Financial Health: Does RTO 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 RTOâ€™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 RTO? 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 GB 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.