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Is There An Opportunity With Shift4 Payments, Inc.'s (NYSE:FOUR) 45% Undervaluation?

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Shift4 Payments, Inc. (NYSE:FOUR) as an investment opportunity by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. Our analysis will employ 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 Shift4 Payments

The Model

We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. 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

2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$176.9m US$238.7m US$285.6m US$326.6m US$361.3m US$390.3m US$414.5m US$434.9m US$452.4m US$467.8m
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x3 Analyst x3 Est @ 19.67% Est @ 14.35% Est @ 10.63% Est @ 8.02% Est @ 6.2% Est @ 4.92% Est @ 4.03% Est @ 3.4%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.2% US$165 US$208 US$232 US$247 US$255 US$257 US$255 US$249 US$242 US$233

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$2.3b

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 1.9%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.2%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$468m× (1 + 1.9%) ÷ (7.2%– 1.9%) = US$9.1b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$9.1b÷ ( 1 + 7.2%)10= US$4.5b

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$6.9b. The last step is to then divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$46.6, the company appears quite good value at a 45% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcfNYSE:FOUR Discounted Cash Flow September 22nd 2022

The Assumptions

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 Shift4 Payments 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 7.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.241. 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.

Looking Ahead:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it is only one of many factors that you need to assess for a company. It's not possible to obtain a foolproof valuation with a DCF model. 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 Shift4 Payments, we've put together three important items you should consider:

  1. Financial Health: Does FOUR have a healthy balance sheet ? Take a look at our free balance sheet analysis with six simple checks on key factors like leverage and risk.
  2. Future Earnings: How does FOUR'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. 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.

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