Today we’ll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of DXC Technology Company (NYSE:DXC) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today’s value. This will be done using the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Believe it or not, it’s not too difficult to follow, as you’ll see from our example!

We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for DXC Technology

The method

We use what is known as a 2-stage model, which simply means we have two different periods of growth rates for the company’s cash flows. Generally the first stage is higher growth, and the second stage is a lower growth phase. In the first stage we need to estimate the cash flows to the business over the next ten years. 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 need to discount the sum of these future cash flows to arrive at a present value estimate:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$879.0m US$1.43b US$1.11b US$1.01b US$959.0m US$935.2m US$925.2m US$924.4m US$930.0m US$940.2m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x1 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ -2.48% Est @ -1.07% Est @ -0.08% Est @ 0.61% Est @ 1.09%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 14% US$769 US$1.1k US$742 US$591 US$493 US$421 US$364 US$319 US$281 US$248

(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$5.3b

After calculating the present value of future cash flows in the initial 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 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 14%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$940m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (14%– 2.2%) = US$8.0b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$8.0b÷ ( 1 + 14%)10= US$2.1b

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$7.4b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$19.9, the company appears quite good value at a 32% 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.

Important assumptions

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 DXC Technology 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 14%, which is based on a levered beta of 2.000. 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:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it shouldn’t be the only metric you look at when researching a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Preferably you’d apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company’s valuation. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For DXC Technology, we’ve compiled three further elements you should consider:

  1. Risks: Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We’ve identified 1 warning sign with DXC Technology , and understanding it should be part of your investment process.
  2. Future Earnings: How does DXC’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. 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.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email [email protected]