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Calculating The Fair Value Of Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES)

Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, Wesfarmers fair value estimate is AU$69.95

  • With AU$68.40 share price, Wesfarmers appears to be trading close to its estimated fair value

  • The AU$57.89 analyst price target for WES is 17% less than our estimate of fair value

In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.

We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

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View our latest analysis for Wesfarmers

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 discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

2033

Levered FCF (A$, Millions)

AU$2.82b

AU$2.84b

AU$3.57b

AU$3.29b

AU$3.97b

AU$4.25b

AU$4.49b

AU$4.69b

AU$4.87b

AU$5.03b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x6

Analyst x6

Analyst x5

Analyst x3

Analyst x2

Est @ 7.02%

Est @ 5.56%

Est @ 4.54%

Est @ 3.83%

Est @ 3.33%

Present Value (A$, Millions) Discounted @ 7.1%

AU$2.6k

AU$2.5k

AU$2.9k

AU$2.5k

AU$2.8k

AU$2.8k

AU$2.8k

AU$2.7k

AU$2.6k

AU$2.5k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = AU$27b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 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 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (2.2%) 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 7.1%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = AU$5.0b× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (7.1%– 2.2%) = AU$104b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= AU$104b÷ ( 1 + 7.1%)10= AU$53b

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$79b. 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$68.4, the company appears about fair value at a 2.2% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
dcf

Important Assumptions

Now 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 Wesfarmers 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 7.1%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.071. 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.

SWOT Analysis for Wesfarmers

Strength

  • Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.

  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.

Weakness

  • Earnings declined over the past year.

  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Multiline Retail market.

Opportunity

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.

  • Current share price is below our estimate of fair value.

Threat

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the Australian market.

Moving On:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. For Wesfarmers, there are three further factors you should explore:

  1. Risks: To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Wesfarmers .

  2. Future Earnings: How does WES'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: Do you like a good all-rounder? 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 ASX every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks 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.