NASDAQ:AKCA) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today’s value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Don’t get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.” data-reactid=”28″>Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Akcea Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKCA) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today’s value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. Don’t get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.
Simply Wall St analysis model.” data-reactid=”29″>Remember though, that there are many ways to estimate a company’s value, and a DCF is just one method. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.
View our latest analysis for Akcea Therapeutics ” data-reactid=”30″>View our latest analysis for Akcea Therapeutics
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. To begin with, we have to get estimates of the next ten years of cash flows. Seeing as no analyst estimates of free cash flow are available to us, we have extrapolate the previous free cash flow (FCF) from the company’s last 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) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)
|Growth Rate Estimate Source
|Est @ 17.89%
|Est @ 13.19%
|Est @ 9.9%
|Est @ 7.59%
|Est @ 5.98%
|Est @ 4.85%
|Est @ 4.06%
|Est @ 3.51%
|Est @ 3.12%
|Est @ 2.85%
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 9.1%
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 2.2%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today’s value at a cost of equity of 9.1%.
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$2.2b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$11.5, the company appears quite undervalued at a 48% 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.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the cash flows. If you don’t agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 Akcea Therapeutics 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 9.1%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.152. 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.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Akcea Therapeutics, we’ve put together three additional factors you should assess:
- Risks: Case in point, we’ve spotted 3 warning signs for Akcea Therapeutics you should be aware of.
- Future Earnings: How does AKCA’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.
- 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!
search here.” data-reactid=”70″>PS. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.
Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email [email protected].” data-reactid=”71″>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. 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.