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Calculating The Fair Value Of BP p.l.c. (LON:BP.)

Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for BP is UK£4.13 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity

  • With UK£4.73 share price, BP appears to be trading close to its estimated fair value

  • The US$6.11 analyst price target for BP. is 48% more than our estimate of fair value

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of BP p.l.c. (LON:BP.) as an investment opportunity by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

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.

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Check out our latest analysis for BP

The Calculation

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 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$16.8b

US$16.5b

US$14.9b

US$12.9b

US$9.23b

US$8.12b

US$7.47b

US$7.08b

US$6.84b

US$6.71b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x13

Analyst x13

Analyst x9

Analyst x2

Analyst x1

Est @ -12.04%

Est @ -8.05%

Est @ -5.27%

Est @ -3.31%

Est @ -1.95%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 12%

US$15.1k

US$13.2k

US$10.7k

US$8.3k

US$5.3k

US$4.2k

US$3.5k

US$2.9k

US$2.5k

US$2.2k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$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 1.2%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 12%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2032 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$6.7b× (1 + 1.2%) ÷ (12%– 1.2%) = US$65b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$65b÷ ( 1 + 12%)10= US$22b

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$90b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of UK£4.7, the company appears around fair value at the time of writing. Remember though, that this is just an approximate valuation, and like any complex formula - garbage in, garbage out.

dcf
dcf

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 BP 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 12%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.491. 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 BP

Strength

  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.

  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.

Weakness

  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Oil and Gas market.

Opportunity

  • Good value based on P/E ratio compared to estimated Fair P/E ratio.

Threat

  • Annual earnings are forecast to decline for the next 3 years.

Looking Ahead:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it is only one of many factors that you need to assess 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 BP, there are three pertinent elements you should consider:

  1. Risks: For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for BP (1 shouldn't be ignored) you should be aware of.

  2. Future Earnings: How does BP.'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. Simply Wall St updates its DCF calculation for every British stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock 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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