Is Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) Trading At A 21% Discount?

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today’s value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Believe it or not, it’s not too difficult to follow, as you’ll see from our example!

We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. 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.

Check out our latest analysis for Aurizon Holdings

What’s The Estimated Valuation?

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 down 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, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today’s value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Leveraged FCF (A$, Millions) -AU$246.8m AU$586.9m AU$644.6m AU$577.1m AU$539.2m AU$517.3m AU$505.5m AU$500.2m AU$499.2m AU$501.3m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x6 Analyst x6 Analyst x5 Analyst x1 Est @ -6.57% Est @ -4.05% Est @ -2.29% Est @ -1.05% Est @ -0.19% Est @ 0.42%
Present Value (A$, Millions) Discounted @ 6.8% -AU$231 AU$514 AU$529 AU$443 AU$388 AU$348 AU$319 AU$295 AU$276 AU$259

(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = AU$3.1b

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 (1.8%) 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 6.8%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = AU$501m × (1 + 1.8%) ÷ (6.8%– 1.8%) = AU$10b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= AU$10b÷ ( 1 + 6.8%)10= AU$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 AU$8.4b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of AU$3.6, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 21% discount to where the stock price currently trades. 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
ASX:AZJ Discounted Cash Flow September 21st 2022

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 results, 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 Aurizon Holdings 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 6.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.174. 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:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it ideally won’t be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. It’s not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. 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. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Aurizon Holdings, we’ve compiled three fundamental items you should consider:

  1. Risks: Case in point, we’ve spotted 2 warning signs for Aurizon Holdings you should be aware of.
  2. Future Earnings: How does AZJ’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 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. 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.

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 into account 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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