Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:UBER) as an investment opportunity by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them 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.
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.
See our latest analysis for Uber Technologies
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 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.
Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, so we need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast
|Levered FCF ($, Millions)||US$2.47b||US$4.16b||US$5.29b||US$6.16b||US$7.60b||US$8.68b||US$9.59b||US$10.4b||US$11.0b||US$11.5b|
|Growth Rate Estimate Source||Analyst x14||Analyst x11||Analyst x6||Analyst x6||Analyst x5||Est @ 14.13%||Est @ 10.51%||Est @ 7.98%||Est @ 6.21%||Est @ 4.96%|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.2%||US$2.3k||US$3.6k||US$4.2k||US$4.5k||US$5.1k||US$5.4k||US$5.5k||US$5.5k||US$5.4k||US$5.2k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$47b
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 8.2%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$12b× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (8.2%– 2.1%) = US$192b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$192b÷ ( 1 + 8.2%)10= US$87b
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$134b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$33.9, the company appears quite undervalued at a 49% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope - move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.
The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Uber Technologies 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 8.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.035. 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 Uber Technologies
- No major strengths identified for UBER.
- Shareholders have been diluted in the past year.
- Forecast to reduce losses next year.
- Has sufficient cash runway for more than 3 years based on current free cash flows.
- Trading below our estimate of fair value by more than 20%.
- Have UBER insiders been buying lately?
- Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.
- Is UBER well equipped to handle threats?
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. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/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 Uber Technologies, we've compiled three additional items you should look at:
- Risks: Take risks, for example - Uber Technologies has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
- Future Earnings: How does UBER'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!
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.