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A Look At The Fair Value Of China Railway Group Limited (SHSE:601390)

Simply Wall St ·  {{timeTz}}

Does the April share price for China Railway Group Limited (SHSE:601390) reflect what it's really worth? Today, we will estimate the stock's intrinsic value by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing 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 want to learn more about discounted cash flow, the rationale behind this calculation can be read in detail in the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for China Railway Group

Crunching the numbers

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. 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

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031
Levered FCF (CN¥, Millions) -CN¥21.3b CN¥18.1b CN¥18.2b CN¥18.4b CN¥18.8b CN¥19.2b CN¥19.7b CN¥20.3b CN¥20.9b CN¥21.5b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x2 Analyst x3 Analyst x1 Est @ 1.28% Est @ 1.88% Est @ 2.31% Est @ 2.6% Est @ 2.81% Est @ 2.95% Est @ 3.05%
Present Value (CN¥, Millions) Discounted @ 13% -CN¥18.9k CN¥14.2k CN¥12.6k CN¥11.3k CN¥10.2k CN¥9.2k CN¥8.4k CN¥7.6k CN¥7.0k CN¥6.3k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = CN¥68b

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 3.3%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 13%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2031 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = CN¥21b× (1 + 3.3%) ÷ (13%– 3.3%) = CN¥229b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= CN¥229b÷ ( 1 + 13%)10= CN¥68b

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 CN¥136b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of CN¥6.6, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. 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.

SHSE:601390 Discounted Cash Flow April 19th 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. Part of investing is coming up with your own evaluation of a company's future performance, so try the calculation yourself and check your own 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 China Railway Group 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 13%, 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.

Moving On:

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. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. For instance, if the terminal value growth rate is adjusted slightly, it can dramatically alter the overall result. For China Railway Group, there are three pertinent factors you should further examine:

  1. Risks: Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for China Railway Group you should know about.
  2. Future Earnings: How does 601390'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 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 SHSE 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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