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Estimating The Intrinsic Value Of United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS)

Key Insights

  • Using the 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity, United Parcel Service fair value estimate is US$172

  • United Parcel Service's US$143 share price indicates it is trading at similar levels as its fair value estimate

  • The US$160 analyst price target for UPS is 6.5% less than our estimate of fair value

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. 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 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.

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Check out our latest analysis for United Parcel Service

The Calculation

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 begin with, we have to get estimates of 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) estimate

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

2031

2032

2033

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$5.34b

US$6.39b

US$6.34b

US$6.87b

US$7.27b

US$7.61b

US$7.91b

US$8.19b

US$8.44b

US$8.69b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x12

Analyst x11

Analyst x5

Analyst x1

Est @ 5.76%

Est @ 4.72%

Est @ 3.99%

Est @ 3.48%

Est @ 3.12%

Est @ 2.87%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.0%

US$5.0k

US$5.6k

US$5.2k

US$5.2k

US$5.2k

US$5.1k

US$4.9k

US$4.8k

US$4.6k

US$4.4k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$50b

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 2.3%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.0%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2033 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$8.7b× (1 + 2.3%) ÷ (7.0%– 2.3%) = US$189b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$189b÷ ( 1 + 7.0%)10= US$96b

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$146b. In the final step we divide the equity value by the number of shares outstanding. Compared to the current share price of US$143, the company appears about fair value at a 17% discount to where the stock price trades currently. The assumptions in any calculation have a big impact on the valuation, so it is better to view this as a rough estimate, not precise down to the last cent.

dcf
dcf

Important 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 United Parcel Service 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 7.0%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.020. 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 United Parcel Service

Strength

  • Debt is well covered by earnings and cashflows.

Weakness

  • Earnings declined over the past year.

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

Opportunity

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

  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.

Threat

  • Dividends are not covered by cash flow.

  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.

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. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Rather it should be seen as a guide to "what assumptions need to be true for this stock to be under/overvalued?" For example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For United Parcel Service, we've compiled three essential aspects you should look at:

  1. Risks: Case in point, we've spotted 3 warning signs for United Parcel Service you should be aware of.

  2. Future Earnings: How does UPS'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.

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.