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A Look At The Fair Value Of Johnson Controls International plc (NYSE:JCI)

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Simply Wall St
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Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Johnson Controls International plc (NYSE:JCI) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. I will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for Johnson Controls International

Is Johnson Controls International fairly valued?

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

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2020

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$2.06b

US$2.12b

US$2.14b

US$2.27b

US$2.40b

US$2.48b

US$2.56b

US$2.62b

US$2.69b

US$2.74b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x8

Analyst x6

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Analyst x1

Est @ 3.52%

Est @ 2.99%

Est @ 2.61%

Est @ 2.35%

Est @ 2.17%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 10%

US$1.9k

US$1.8k

US$1.6k

US$1.5k

US$1.5k

US$1.4k

US$1.3k

US$1.2k

US$1.1k

US$1.0k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$14b

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 10-year government bond rate of 1.7%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 10%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2029 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.7b× (1 + 1.7%) ÷ 10%– 1.7%) = US$33b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$33b÷ ( 1 + 10%)10= US$13b

The total value, or equity value, is then the sum of the present value of the future cash flows, which in this case is US$27b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$40.6, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. 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.

NYSE:JCI Intrinsic value, December 16th 2019
NYSE:JCI Intrinsic value, December 16th 2019

Important 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. Part of investing is coming up with your own evaluation of a company's future performance, so try the calculation yourself and check your own 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 Johnson Controls International 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 10%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.284. 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. For Johnson Controls International, I've put together three essential aspects you should further examine:

  1. Financial Health: Does JCI 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 JCI'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 JCI? 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 updates its DCF calculation for every US stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.