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Is United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) Worth US$339 Based On Its Intrinsic Value?

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  • URI

Does the December share price for United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE:URI) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. We will take advantage of the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model for this purpose. It may sound complicated, but actually it is quite simple!

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.

Check out our latest analysis for United Rentals

Crunching the numbers

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 start off with, we need to estimate 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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, 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

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$1.51b

US$1.59b

US$1.44b

US$1.35b

US$1.30b

US$1.27b

US$1.26b

US$1.26b

US$1.27b

US$1.28b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x5

Analyst x5

Est @ -9.81%

Est @ -6.28%

Est @ -3.81%

Est @ -2.08%

Est @ -0.87%

Est @ -0.02%

Est @ 0.58%

Est @ 0.99%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.0%

US$1.4k

US$1.4k

US$1.1k

US$991

US$883

US$801

US$735

US$681

US$634

US$593

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$9.2b

The second stage is also known as Terminal Value, this is the business's cash flow after 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 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (2.0%) 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 8.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$1.3b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (8.0%– 2.0%) = US$22b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$22b÷ ( 1 + 8.0%)10= US$10b

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$19b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$339, the company appears slightly overvalued at the time of writing. 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

The assumptions

We would 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 these inputs, I recommend redoing the calculations yourself and playing with them. 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 United Rentals 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 8.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.375. 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:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. 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 exceeding the intrinsic value? For United Rentals, we've compiled three important items you should further examine:

  1. Risks: You should be aware of the 2 warning signs for United Rentals we've uncovered before considering an investment in the company.

  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for URI'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 American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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.