Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI) by taking the expected future cash flows and 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.

Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company’s value, and a DCF is just one method. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you. What’s the estimated valuation?

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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today’s value: 10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)

Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$360m

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 (2.0%) 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 6.2%.

Terminal Value (TV) = FCF 2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$57m× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (6.2%– 2.0%) = US$1.4b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV) = TV / (1 + r) 10 = US$1.4b÷ ( 1 + 6.2%) 10 = US$747m

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$1.1b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$35.3, the company appears a touch undervalued at a 23% 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. NasdaqGS:HCCI Discounted Cash Flow November 6th 2021 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 Heritage-Crystal Clean 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 6.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.976. 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. Looking Ahead:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. It’s not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. Rather it should be seen as a guide […]

source Are Investors Undervaluing Heritage-Crystal Clean, Inc (NASDAQ:HCCI) By 23%?