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Principles of Finance

11.3 Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Model

Principles of Finance11.3 Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Model

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Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction to Finance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 1.1 What Is Finance?
    3. 1.2 The Role of Finance in an Organization
    4. 1.3 Importance of Data and Technology
    5. 1.4 Careers in Finance
    6. 1.5 Markets and Participants
    7. 1.6 Microeconomic and Macroeconomic Matters
    8. 1.7 Financial Instruments
    9. 1.8 Concepts of Time and Value
    10. Summary
    11. Key Terms
    12. Multiple Choice
    13. Review Questions
    14. Video Activity
  3. 2 Corporate Structure and Governance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 2.1 Business Structures
    3. 2.2 Relationship between Shareholders and Company Management
    4. 2.3 Role of the Board of Directors
    5. 2.4 Agency Issues: Shareholders and Corporate Boards
    6. 2.5 Interacting with Investors, Intermediaries, and Other Market Participants
    7. 2.6 Companies in Domestic and Global Markets
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Video Activity
  4. 3 Economic Foundations: Money and Rates
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 3.1 Microeconomics
    3. 3.2 Macroeconomics
    4. 3.3 Business Cycles and Economic Activity
    5. 3.4 Interest Rates
    6. 3.5 Foreign Exchange Rates
    7. 3.6 Sources and Characteristics of Economic Data
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  5. 4 Accrual Accounting Process
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 4.1 Cash versus Accrual Accounting
    3. 4.2 Economic Basis for Accrual Accounting
    4. 4.3 How Does a Company Recognize a Sale and an Expense?
    5. 4.4 When Should a Company Capitalize or Expense an Item?
    6. 4.5 What Is “Profit” versus “Loss” for the Company?
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Review Questions
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  6. 5 Financial Statements
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 5.1 The Income Statement
    3. 5.2 The Balance Sheet
    4. 5.3 The Relationship between the Balance Sheet and the Income Statement
    5. 5.4 The Statement of Owner’s Equity
    6. 5.5 The Statement of Cash Flows
    7. 5.6 Operating Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow to the Firm (FCFF)
    8. 5.7 Common-Size Statements
    9. 5.8 Reporting Financial Activity
    10. Summary
    11. Key Terms
    12. CFA Institute
    13. Multiple Choice
    14. Review Questions
    15. Problems
    16. Video Activity
  7. 6 Measures of Financial Health
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 6.1 Ratios: Condensing Information into Smaller Pieces
    3. 6.2 Operating Efficiency Ratios
    4. 6.3 Liquidity Ratios
    5. 6.4 Solvency Ratios
    6. 6.5 Market Value Ratios
    7. 6.6 Profitability Ratios and the DuPont Method
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  8. 7 Time Value of Money I: Single Payment Value
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 7.1 Now versus Later Concepts
    3. 7.2 Time Value of Money (TVM) Basics
    4. 7.3 Methods for Solving Time Value of Money Problems
    5. 7.4 Applications of TVM in Finance
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. CFA Institute
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Review Questions
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  9. 8 Time Value of Money II: Equal Multiple Payments
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 8.1 Perpetuities
    3. 8.2 Annuities
    4. 8.3 Loan Amortization
    5. 8.4 Stated versus Effective Rates
    6. 8.5 Equal Payments with a Financial Calculator and Excel
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  10. 9 Time Value of Money III: Unequal Multiple Payment Values
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 9.1 Timing of Cash Flows
    3. 9.2 Unequal Payments Using a Financial Calculator or Microsoft Excel
    4. Summary
    5. Key Terms
    6. CFA Institute
    7. Multiple Choice
    8. Review Questions
    9. Problems
    10. Video Activity
  11. 10 Bonds and Bond Valuation
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 10.1 Characteristics of Bonds
    3. 10.2 Bond Valuation
    4. 10.3 Using the Yield Curve
    5. 10.4 Risks of Interest Rates and Default
    6. 10.5 Using Spreadsheets to Solve Bond Problems
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  12. 11 Stocks and Stock Valuation
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 11.1 Multiple Approaches to Stock Valuation
    3. 11.2 Dividend Discount Models (DDMs)
    4. 11.3 Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Model
    5. 11.4 Preferred Stock
    6. 11.5 Efficient Markets
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  13. 12 Historical Performance of US Markets
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 12.1 Overview of US Financial Markets
    3. 12.2 Historical Picture of Inflation
    4. 12.3 Historical Picture of Returns to Bonds
    5. 12.4 Historical Picture of Returns to Stocks
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Review Questions
    10. Video Activity
  14. 13 Statistical Analysis in Finance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 13.1 Measures of Center
    3. 13.2 Measures of Spread
    4. 13.3 Measures of Position
    5. 13.4 Statistical Distributions
    6. 13.5 Probability Distributions
    7. 13.6 Data Visualization and Graphical Displays
    8. 13.7 The R Statistical Analysis Tool
    9. Summary
    10. Key Terms
    11. CFA Institute
    12. Multiple Choice
    13. Review Questions
    14. Problems
    15. Video Activity
  15. 14 Regression Analysis in Finance
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 14.1 Correlation Analysis
    3. 14.2 Linear Regression Analysis
    4. 14.3 Best-Fit Linear Model
    5. 14.4 Regression Applications in Finance
    6. 14.5 Predictions and Prediction Intervals
    7. 14.6 Use of R Statistical Analysis Tool for Regression Analysis
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  16. 15 How to Think about Investing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 15.1 Risk and Return to an Individual Asset
    3. 15.2 Risk and Return to Multiple Assets
    4. 15.3 The Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)
    5. 15.4 Applications in Performance Measurement
    6. 15.5 Using Excel to Make Investment Decisions
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. CFA Institute
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  17. 16 How Companies Think about Investing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 16.1 Payback Period Method
    3. 16.2 Net Present Value (NPV) Method
    4. 16.3 Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Method
    5. 16.4 Alternative Methods
    6. 16.5 Choosing between Projects
    7. 16.6 Using Excel to Make Company Investment Decisions
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  18. 17 How Firms Raise Capital
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 17.1 The Concept of Capital Structure
    3. 17.2 The Costs of Debt and Equity Capital
    4. 17.3 Calculating the Weighted Average Cost of Capital
    5. 17.4 Capital Structure Choices
    6. 17.5 Optimal Capital Structure
    7. 17.6 Alternative Sources of Funds
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. CFA Institute
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Review Questions
    13. Problems
    14. Video Activity
  19. 18 Financial Forecasting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 18.1 The Importance of Forecasting
    3. 18.2 Forecasting Sales
    4. 18.3 Pro Forma Financials
    5. 18.4 Generating the Complete Forecast
    6. 18.5 Forecasting Cash Flow and Assessing the Value of Growth
    7. 18.6 Using Excel to Create the Long-Term Forecast
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Problems
    13. Video Activity
  20. 19 The Importance of Trade Credit and Working Capital in Planning
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 19.1 What Is Working Capital?
    3. 19.2 What Is Trade Credit?
    4. 19.3 Cash Management
    5. 19.4 Receivables Management
    6. 19.5 Inventory Management
    7. 19.6 Using Excel to Create the Short-Term Plan
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Review Questions
    12. Video Activity
  21. 20 Risk Management and the Financial Manager
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 20.1 The Importance of Risk Management
    3. 20.2 Commodity Price Risk
    4. 20.3 Exchange Rates and Risk
    5. 20.4 Interest Rate Risk
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. CFA Institute
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Review Questions
    11. Problems
    12. Video Activity
  22. Index

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Explain how the DCF model differs from DDMs.
  • Apply the DCF model.
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the DCF model.

When investors buy stock, they do so in order to receive cash inflows at different points in time in the future. These inflows come in the form of cash dividends (provided the stock does indeed pay dividends, because not all do) and also in the form of the final cash inflow that will occur when the investor decides to sell the stock.

The investor hopes that the final sale price of the stock will be higher than the purchase price, resulting in a capital gain. The hope for capital gains is even stronger in the case of stocks that do not pay dividends. When securities have been held for at least one year, the seller is eligible for long-term capital gains tax rates, which are lower than short-term rates for most investors. This makes non-dividend-paying stocks even more attractive, provided that they do indeed appreciate in value over the investor’s holding period. Meanwhile, short-term gains, or gains made on securities held for less than one year, are taxed at ordinary income tax rates, which are usually higher and offer no particular advantage to an investor in terms of reducing their taxes.

Understanding How the DCF Model Differs from DDMs

The valuation of an asset is typically based on the present value of future cash flows that are generated by the asset. It is no different with common stock, which brings us to another form of stock valuation: the discounted cash flow (DCF) model. The DCF model is usually used to evaluate firms that are relatively young and do not pay dividends to their shareholders. Examples of such companies include Facebook, Amazon, Google, Biogen, and Monster Beverage. The DCF model differs from the dividend discount models we covered earlier, as DDM methodologies are almost entirely based on a stock’s periodic dividends.

The DCF model is an absolute valuation model, meaning that it does not involve comparisons with other firms within any specific industry but instead uses objective data to evaluate a company on a stand-alone basis. The DCF model focuses on a company’s cash flows, determining the present value of the entire organization and then working this down to the share-value level based on total shares outstanding of the subject organization. This highly regarded methodology is the evaluation tool of choice for experienced financial analysts when evaluating companies and their common stock. Many analysts prefer DCF methods of valuation because these are based on a company’s cash flows, which are far less easily manipulated through accounting treatments than revenues or bottom-line earnings.

The DCF model formula in its mathematical form is presented below:

Stock Value=CF1(1+r)1+CF2(1+r)2++TCFr - g(1 + r)n-1Stock Value=CF1(1+r)1+CF2(1+r)2++TCFr - g(1 + r)n-1

where CF1 is the estimated cash flow in year 1, CF2 is the estimated cash flow in year 2, and so on; TCF is the terminal cash flow, or expected cash flow from the ending asset sale; r is the discount rate or required rate of return; g is the anticipated growth rate of the cash flow; and n is the number of years covered in the model.

Applying the DCF Model

We can apply the DCF model to an example to demonstrate this methodology and how the formula works. Calculate the value of Mayweather Inc. and its common stock based on the next six years of cash flow results. Assume that the discount rate (required rate of return) is 8%, Mayweather’s growth rate is 3%, and the terminal value (TCF) will be two and one-half times the discounted value of the cash flow in year 6.

Mayweather has a cash flow of $2.0 million in year 1, so its discounted cash flow after one year (CF1) is $1,851,851.85. We arrive at this amount by applying the discount rate of 8% for a one-year period to determine the present value.

In subsequent years, Mayweather’s cash flow will be increasing by 3%. These future cash flows also must be discounted back to present values at an 8% rate, so the discounted cash flow amounts over the next six years will be as follows:

Year 1: $1,851,852
Year 2: $1,766,118
Year 3: $1,684,353
Year 4: $1,606,374
Year 5: $1,532,005
Year 6: $1,461,079

Our earlier assumption that the terminal value will be 2.5 times the value in the sixth year gives us a total terminal cash flow (TCF) of $1,461,079 × 2.5$1,461,079 × 2.5, or $3,652,697. Now, if we take all these future discounted cash flows and add them together, we arrive at a grand total of $13,554,477. So, based on our DCF model analysis, the total value of Mayweather Inc. is just over $13.5 million.

At this point, we have the estimated value of the entire company, but we need to work this down to the level of per-share value of common stock.

Let’s say that Mayweather is currently trading at $12 per share, and it has 1,000,000 common shares outstanding. This tells us that the market capitalization of the company is $12 × 1,000,000$12 × 1,000,000, or $12 million, and that a $12 share price may be considered relatively low. The reason for this is that based on our DCF model analysis, investors would theoretically be willing to pay $13,554,477 divided by 1,000,000 shares, or $13.55 per share, for Mayweather. The overall conclusion would be that at $12.00 per share, Mayweather common stock would be a good buy at the present time. Figure 11.11 shows the Excel spreadsheet approach for arriving at the total value of Mayweather.

Screenshot of an Excel based solution for total value. The discount rate of 8% is in cell C2. Cash flow and present value is shown for years 1 through 6. The formula to determine present value is = negative PV open parenthesis $ C $ 2 comma B6 comma 0 comma C6 close parenthesis, where $ C $ 2 is the discount rate, cell B6 is the year number, and cell C6 is the amount of cash flow.
Figure 11.11 Excel Solution for Total Value

Cell E6 displays the present value formula that is active in cell D6.

Advantages and Limitations of the DCF Model

Due to several corporate accounting scandals in recent years, many analysts have given increasing credence to the use of cash flow as a metric for determining accurate corporate valuations. However, it should be noted that cash flow is not always the best means of measuring financial health. A company can always sell a large portion of its assets to generate a positive cash flow, even if it is operating at a loss or experiencing other financial difficulties. Additionally, investors prefer to see companies reinvesting their cash back into their businesses rather than sitting on excessive balances of idle cash.

Similar to other models, the discounted cash flow model is only as good as the information entered. As the common expression goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” This can often be the case if reasonably accurate cash flow estimates are not available or if an unrealistic discount rate or required rate of return is used in the calculations. It is always best to use several different methods when valuing companies and their common stock.

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