A Look At The Intrinsic Value Of Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA)

How far off is Mastercard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) from its intrinsic value? Using the most recent financial data, we’ll take a look at whether the stock is fairly priced by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to today’s value. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. There’s really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about intrinsic value should have a read of the Simply Wall St analysis model.

View our latest analysis for Mastercard

Step by step through the calculation

We are going to use a two-stage DCF model, which, as the name states, takes into account two stages of growth. The first stage is generally a higher growth period which levels off heading towards the terminal value, captured in the second ‘steady growth’ period. To start off with, we need to estimate 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.

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) estimate

2021 2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$8.52b US$10.2b US$12.3b US$15.7b US$18.1b US$20.1b US$21.8b US$23.2b US$24.5b US$25.5b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x7 Analyst x5 Analyst x3 Analyst x2 Est @ 14.91% Est @ 11.11% Est @ 8.44% Est @ 6.57% Est @ 5.27% Est @ 4.35%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 8.5% US$7.9k US$8.7k US$9.6k US$11.4k US$12.0k US$12.3k US$12.3k US$12.1k US$11.8k US$11.3k

(“Est” = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$109b

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 2.2%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today’s value at a cost of equity of 8.5%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$26b× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (8.5%– 2.2%) = US$417b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$417b÷ ( 1 + 8.5%)10= US$185b

The total value is the sum of cash flows for the next ten years plus the discounted terminal value, which results in the Total Equity Value, which in this case is US$294b. To get the intrinsic value per share, we divide this by the total number of shares outstanding. Relative to the current share price of US$339, the company appears around fair value 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.

Important assumptions

We would point out that the most important inputs to a discounted cash flow are the discount rate and of course the actual cash flows. If you don’t agree with these result, have a go at the calculation yourself and play with the 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 Mastercard 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 8.5%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.042. 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. DCF models are not the be-all and end-all of investment valuation. Instead the best use for a DCF model is to test certain assumptions and theories to see if they would lead to the company being undervalued or overvalued. For example, changes in the company’s cost of equity or the risk free rate can significantly impact the valuation. For Mastercard, we’ve compiled three pertinent aspects you should consider:

  1. Risks: For example, we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Mastercard that you should be aware of before investing here.
  2. Future Earnings: How does MA’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.

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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