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Is Marston's PLC (LON:MARS) Expensive For A Reason? A Look At Its Intrinsic Value

Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, Marston's fair value estimate is UK£0.25

  • Marston's is estimated to be 34% overvalued based on current share price of UK£0.33

  • Our fair value estimate is 50% lower than Marston's' analyst price target of UK£0.50

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Marston's PLC (LON:MARS) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

See our latest analysis for Marston's

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 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

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

2033

Levered FCF (£, Millions)

UK£33.8m

UK£36.0m

UK£25.3m

UK£20.1m

UK£17.3m

UK£15.7m

UK£14.8m

UK£14.2m

UK£13.9m

UK£13.7m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x4

Analyst x3

Est @ -29.87%

Est @ -20.46%

Est @ -13.86%

Est @ -9.25%

Est @ -6.02%

Est @ -3.76%

Est @ -2.17%

Est @ -1.07%

Present Value (£, Millions) Discounted @ 13%

UK£29.8

UK£28.0

UK£17.3

UK£12.2

UK£9.3

UK£7.4

UK£6.1

UK£5.2

UK£4.5

UK£3.9

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = UK£124m

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 (1.5%) 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 13%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = UK£14m× (1 + 1.5%) ÷ (13%– 1.5%) = UK£118m

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= UK£118m÷ ( 1 + 13%)10= UK£34m

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 UK£158m. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of UK£0.3, the company appears potentially overvalued at the time of writing. 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 Marston's 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 13%, which is based on a levered beta of 2.000. 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 Marston's

Strength

  • No major strengths identified for MARS.

Weakness

  • Interest payments on debt are not well covered.

Opportunity

  • Good value based on P/E ratio compared to estimated Fair P/E ratio.

Threat

  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.

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

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it is only one of many factors that you need to assess 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. What is the reason for the share price exceeding the intrinsic value? For Marston's, we've compiled three further factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: Be aware that Marston's is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those are significant...

  2. Future Earnings: How does MARS'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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every British 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.