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Intrinsic Value of a Company Based on Future Cash Flows

In Calculate Present Value Of Perpetuity and Warren Buffett’s Intrinsic Value Calculator I have illustrated how one can calculate the intrinsic value of a company based on the sum of cash that can be taken out of the business in form of dividends plus the equity growth.

In this article I will describe how we can follow a similar approach, but based on the free cash flow, FCF, (FCF = Cash Flow From Operating Activities – Payments for acquisition of property, plant and equipment).

We are going to use a two-stage process to calculate the present value of the company’s future cash flows. We will assume that the company would be able to grow its free cash flow at 15 percent per year for the next 10 years. Starting in year 1, that growth rate will slow to 5 percent per year.

To figure out that the company would be able to grow its free cash flow at x percent annually we can look at the company’s free cash flows for the last 10 years and Compute the Compound Annual Growth Rate. It is preferred that the over year growth within that time frame has been steady.

Stage One
The first stage applies the 15\% annual growth for ten years. If in year 0 the free cash flow is 828,000,000, after 1 year of growth (at 15\%), the cash flow will be 952,200,000. After 2 years of growth, the cash flow will be 1,095,030,000. After 10 years of growth, the cash flow will be 3,349,721,805. Summing up all these future cash flows and then discounting them to present value at 9\% rate, we will end up with a present value of 11,250,041,570.

Stage Two
Starting with year 11, growth will slow to 5\% annually. Cash flow on year 11 (after year 10 cash flow grew by 5\%) will be 3,517,207,895 (= 3,349,721,805(1 + 0.05)). Assuming that company will generate 3,517,207,895 annually for the rest of its life, the terminal value in year 10 will be 87,930,197,386. We then have to discount 87,930,197,386, at a rate of 9%, to get the present value today (remember 87,930,197,386 is the terminal value at year 10). Discounting 87,930,197,386, at a rate of 9%, we get 37,142,665,628(= 87,930,197,386\frac{1}{(1 + 0.9)^{10}}).

Finally, we just have to add the two values together to get our final intrinsic value of the company

intrinsic\ value = 11,250,041,570 + 37,142,665,628 = 48,392,707,197 = 48\ Billion

I have created a small Python script that does this calculation for you. To run it, simply type the following command into your terminal:

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