Are Investors Undervaluing Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE:SIX) By 50%?

Simply Wall St
·6-min read

Today we will run through one way of estimating the intrinsic value of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE:SIX) by taking the expected future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. The Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model is the tool we will apply to do this. There's really not all that much to it, even though it might appear quite complex.

We would caution that there are many ways of valuing a company and, like the DCF, each technique has advantages and disadvantages in certain scenarios. 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 Six Flags Entertainment

The method

We're using the 2-stage growth model, which simply means we take in account two stages of company's growth. In the initial period the company may have a higher growth rate and the second stage is usually assumed to have a stable growth rate. 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.

Generally we assume that a dollar today is more valuable than a dollar in the future, and so the sum of these future cash flows is then discounted to today's value:

10-year free cash flow (FCF) estimate

2021

2022

2023

2024

2025

2026

2027

2028

2029

2030

Levered FCF ($, Millions)

US$55.9m

US$170.0m

US$248.8m

US$331.2m

US$410.1m

US$481.3m

US$543.0m

US$595.3m

US$639.5m

US$676.9m

Growth Rate Estimate Source

Analyst x3

Analyst x3

Est @ 46.35%

Est @ 33.11%

Est @ 23.84%

Est @ 17.36%

Est @ 12.82%

Est @ 9.64%

Est @ 7.41%

Est @ 5.85%

Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 14%

US$49.0

US$130

US$167

US$194

US$211

US$217

US$214

US$205

US$193

US$179

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$1.8b

We now need to calculate the Terminal Value, which accounts for all the future cash flows after this ten year period. For a number of reasons a very conservative growth rate is used that cannot exceed that of a country's GDP growth. In this case we have used the 5-year average of the 10-year government bond yield (2.2%) to estimate future growth. In the same way as with the 10-year 'growth' period, we discount future cash flows to today's value, using a cost of equity of 14%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2030 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$677m× (1 + 2.2%) ÷ (14%– 2.2%) = US$5.8b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$5.8b÷ ( 1 + 14%)10= US$1.5b

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$3.3b. 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$19.5, the company appears quite good value at a 50% discount to where the stock price trades currently. Valuations are imprecise instruments though, rather like a telescope - move a few degrees and end up in a different galaxy. Do keep this in mind.

dcf
dcf

The assumptions

The calculation above is very dependent on two assumptions. The first is the discount rate and the other is the 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 Six Flags Entertainment 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 14%, which is based on a levered beta of 2.000. 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.

Looking Ahead:

Valuation is only one side of the coin in terms of building your investment thesis, and it shouldn't be the only metric you look at when researching a company. The DCF model is not a perfect stock valuation tool. Preferably you'd apply different cases and assumptions and see how they would impact the company's valuation. If a company grows at a different rate, or if its cost of equity or risk free rate changes sharply, the output can look very different. Can we work out why the company is trading at a discount to intrinsic value? For Six Flags Entertainment, we've put together three pertinent elements you should look at:

  1. Risks: Be aware that Six Flags Entertainment is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those is a bit concerning...

  2. Future Earnings: How does SIX'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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