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Is There An Opportunity With Elementis plc's (LON:ELM) 46% Undervaluation?

Key Insights

  • Elementis' estimated fair value is UK£2.78 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity

  • Elementis' UK£1.50 share price signals that it might be 46% undervalued

  • The US$1.62 analyst price target for ELM is 42% less than our estimate of fair value

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Elementis plc (LON:ELM) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

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 still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

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View our latest analysis for Elementis

The Method

We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second 'steady growth' period. 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) forecast

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

2033

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$30.3m

US$65.1m

US$88.0m

US$105.5m

US$120.7m

US$133.5m

US$144.2m

US$153.0m

US$160.3m

US$166.6m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x2

Analyst x2

Analyst x2

Est @ 19.86%

Est @ 14.43%

Est @ 10.63%

Est @ 7.97%

Est @ 6.11%

Est @ 4.81%

Est @ 3.90%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.7%

US$28.1

US$56.0

US$70.4

US$78.3

US$83.2

US$85.4

US$85.6

US$84.3

US$82.0

US$79.1

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$732m

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 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 1.8%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.7%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$167m× (1 + 1.8%) ÷ (7.7%– 1.8%) = US$2.8b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$2.8b÷ ( 1 + 7.7%)10= US$1.3b

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$2.1b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of UK£1.5, the company appears quite good value at a 46% 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

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 Elementis 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 7.7%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.089. 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 Elementis

Strength

  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.

Weakness

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

Opportunity

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the British market.

  • Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.

Threat

  • Annual revenue is forecast to grow slower than the British market.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Elementis, there are three pertinent elements you should explore:

  1. Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Elementis you should know about.

  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for ELM'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 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.