PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) Shares Could Be 34% Above Their Intrinsic Value Estimate

PPL Corporation +0.78%

PPL Corporation

PPL

29.84

+0.78%

Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for PPL is US$19.68 based on Dividend Discount Model
  • PPL is estimated to be 34% overvalued based on current share price of US$26.39
  • The US$28.54 analyst price target for PPL is 45% more than our estimate of fair value

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of PPL Corporation (NYSE:PPL) by projecting its future cash flows and then discounting them to today's value. We will use the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model on this occasion. Believe it or not, it's not too difficult to follow, as you'll see from our example!

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. For those who are keen learners of equity analysis, the Simply Wall St analysis model here may be something of interest to you.

View our latest analysis for PPL

The Calculation

As PPL operates in the electric utilities sector, we need to calculate the intrinsic value slightly differently. In this approach dividends per share (DPS) are used, as free cash flow is difficult to estimate and often not reported by analysts. This often underestimates the value of a stock, but it can still be good as a comparison to competitors. The 'Gordon Growth Model' is used, which simply assumes that dividend payments will continue to increase at a sustainable growth rate forever. The dividend is expected to grow at an annual growth rate equal to the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield of 2.2%. We then discount this figure to today's value at a cost of equity of 6.2%. Relative to the current share price of US$26.4, the company appears potentially overvalued at the time of writing. 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.

Value Per Share = Expected Dividend Per Share / (Discount Rate - Perpetual Growth Rate)

= US$1.1 / (6.2% – 2.2%)

= US$19.7

dcf
NYSE:PPL Discounted Cash Flow November 29th 2023

Important Assumptions

Now the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate, and of course, the actual 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 PPL 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 6.2%, which is based on a levered beta of 0.800. 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 PPL

Strength
  • Earnings growth over the past year exceeded the industry.
Weakness
  • Interest payments on debt are not well covered.
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Electric Utilities market.
  • Expensive based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow for the next 3 years.
Threat
  • Debt is not well covered by operating cash flow.
  • Dividends are not covered by earnings.
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow slower than the American market.

Moving On:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it ideally won't be the sole piece of analysis you scrutinize for a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. 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. Can we work out why the company is trading at a premium to intrinsic value? For PPL, we've put together three additional items you should further research:

  1. Risks: Be aware that PPL is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
  2. Future Earnings: How does PPL'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 American stock every day, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any other stock just search here.

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