Canada markets closed

A Look At The Intrinsic Value Of First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSE:FM)

Simply Wall St

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (TSE:FM) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. I will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Don't get put off by the jargon, the math behind it is actually quite straightforward.

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.

See our latest analysis for First Quantum Minerals

The model

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. 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) forecast

2020 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$680.8m US$719.7m US$531.4m -US$645.2m US$655.6m US$560.2m US$505.5m US$473.2m US$454.1m US$443.2m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x7 Analyst x7 Analyst x7 Analyst x2 Analyst x1 Est @ -14.55% Est @ -9.75% Est @ -6.4% Est @ -4.05% Est @ -2.4%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 11% US$611 US$579 US$384 -US$418.1 US$381 US$292 US$237 US$199 US$171 US$150

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.6b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the intial 10-year period, we need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all future cash flows beyond the first stage. The Gordon Growth formula is used to calculate Terminal Value at a future annual growth rate equal to the 10-year government bond rate of 1.4%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 11%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2029 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$443m× (1 + 1.4%) ÷ 11%– 1.4%) = US$4.5b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$4.5b÷ ( 1 + 11%)10= US$1.5b

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$4.1b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of CA$7.9, the company appears about fair value at a 5.5% 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.

TSX:FM Intrinsic value April 23rd 2020

Important assumptions

Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual 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 First Quantum Minerals 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 11%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.842. 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.

Next Steps:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. For First Quantum Minerals, We've compiled three fundamental factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with First Quantum Minerals (at least 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) , and understanding these should be part of your investment process.
  2. Management:Have insiders been ramping up their shares to take advantage of the market's sentiment for FM's future outlook? Check out our management and board analysis with insights on CEO compensation and governance factors.
  3. 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 TSX every day. If you want to find the calculation for other stocks just search here.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.