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PG&E Corporation's (NYSE:PCG) Intrinsic Value Is Potentially 27% Above Its Share Price

Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, PG&E fair value estimate is US$20.48

  • PG&E is estimated to be 21% undervalued based on current share price of US$16.10

  • Analyst price target for PCG is US$18.23 which is 11% below our fair value estimate

In this article we are going to estimate the intrinsic value of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) 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. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

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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Check out our latest analysis for PG&E

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 start off with, we need to estimate 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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

-US$3.23b

-US$3.01b

-US$2.28b

US$1.16b

US$1.63b

US$2.11b

US$2.56b

US$2.95b

US$3.28b

US$3.57b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x3

Analyst x3

Analyst x3

Analyst x1

Est @ 40.83%

Est @ 29.20%

Est @ 21.06%

Est @ 15.36%

Est @ 11.38%

Est @ 8.58%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.0%

-US$3.0k

-US$2.6k

-US$1.9k

US$886

US$1.2k

US$1.4k

US$1.6k

US$1.7k

US$1.8k

US$1.8k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.9b

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 (2.1%) 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 7.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$3.6b× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (7.0%– 2.1%) = US$74b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$74b÷ ( 1 + 7.0%)10= US$38b

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$41b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$16.1, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 21% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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
dcf

The 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 PG&E 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 7.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.825. 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 PG&E

Strength

  • No major strengths identified for PCG.

Weakness

  • Interest payments on debt are not well covered.

Opportunity

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

  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.

Threat

  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.

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

Looking Ahead:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For PG&E, there are three pertinent elements you should further research:

  1. Risks: We feel that you should assess the 2 warning signs for PG&E (1 is potentially serious!) we've flagged before making an investment in the company.

  2. Future Earnings: How does PCG'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 NYSE 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.

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