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A Look At The Fair Value Of Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB)
Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today's value. Our analysis will employ the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Before you think you won't be able to understand it, just read on! It's actually much less complex than you'd imagine.
We generally believe that a company's value is the present value of all of the cash it will generate in the future. However, a DCF is just one valuation metric among many, and it is not without flaws. 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 Schlumberger
Step By Step Through The Calculation
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.
Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:
10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate
|Levered FCF ($, Millions) Growth|
|Rate||Analyst||Analyst||Analyst||Analyst||Analyst||Est @||Est @||Est @||Est @||Est @|
|Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 11%||US$3.1k||US$3.7k||US$4.4k||US$4.3k||US$4.2k||US$4.1k||US$3.9k||US$3.6k||US$3.4k||US$3.1k|
("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$38b
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 11%.
Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$8.9b× (1 + 2.1%) ÷ (11%– 2.1%) = US$102b
Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$102b÷ ( 1 + 11%)10= US$36b
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$74b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$42.8, the company appears about fair value at a 17% 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. 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 Schlumberger 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 1.498. 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 Schlumberger
Earnings growth over the past year exceeded its 5-year average.
Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.
Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.
Earnings growth over the past year underperformed the Energy Services industry.
Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Energy Services market.
Annual revenue is forecast to grow faster than the American market.
Current share price is below our estimate of fair value.
Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.
Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. 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. 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 Schlumberger, we've put together three important factors you should further examine:
Risks: For example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for Schlumberger that you should be aware of before investing here.
Future Earnings: How does SLB'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 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!