General Dynamics Corporation's (NYSE:GD) Intrinsic Value Is Potentially 48% Above Its Share Price

Simply Wall St
·6 min read

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) as an investment opportunity by taking the forecast future cash flows of the company and discounting them back to today's value. This will be done using 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 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. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

See our latest analysis for General Dynamics

The method

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.

A DCF is all about the idea that a dollar in the future is less valuable than a dollar today, so we discount the value of these future cash flows to their estimated value in today's dollars:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) forecast

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$3.09b

US$3.42b

US$3.68b

US$3.81b

US$4.06b

US$4.24b

US$4.40b

US$4.54b

US$4.67b

US$4.79b

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x3

Analyst x8

Analyst x7

Analyst x3

Analyst x1

Est @ 4.44%

Est @ 3.72%

Est @ 3.21%

Est @ 2.86%

Est @ 2.62%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.6%

US$2.9k

US$3.0k

US$3.0k

US$2.8k

US$2.8k

US$2.7k

US$2.6k

US$2.5k

US$2.4k

US$2.3k

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$27b

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. 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 2.0%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.6%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$4.8b× (1 + 2.0%) ÷ (7.6%– 2.0%) = US$88b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$88b÷ ( 1 + 7.6%)10= US$42b

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$69b. 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$163, the company appears quite undervalued at a 33% 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. 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 General Dynamics 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 7.6%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.062. 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.

Next Steps:

Whilst important, the DCF calculation shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching 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 example, changes in the company's cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. What is the reason for the share price sitting below the intrinsic value? For General Dynamics, we've compiled three pertinent factors you should assess:

  1. Risks: Be aware that General Dynamics is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

  2. Future Earnings: How does GD'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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. 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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