Are Investors Undervaluing Coterra Energy Inc. (NYSE:CTRA) By 36%?

Simply Wall St · 07/01 10:23

Key Insights

  • The projected fair value for Coterra Energy is US$41.78 based on 2 Stage Free Cash Flow to Equity
  • Current share price of US$26.67 suggests Coterra Energy is potentially 36% undervalued
  • The US$34.10 analyst price target for CTRA is 18% less than our estimate of fair value

Today we'll do a simple run through of a valuation method used to estimate the attractiveness of Coterra Energy Inc. (NYSE:CTRA) as an investment opportunity by estimating the company's future cash flows and discounting them to their present value. One way to achieve this is by employing the Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) model. Models like these may appear beyond the comprehension of a lay person, but they're fairly easy to follow.

Companies can be valued in a lot of ways, so we would point out that a DCF is not perfect for every situation. If you still have some burning questions about this type of valuation, take a look at the Simply Wall St analysis model.

See our latest analysis for Coterra Energy

The Method

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.

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) forecast

2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 2030 2031 2032 2033 2034
Levered FCF ($, Millions) US$2.10b US$2.24b US$2.17b US$1.90b US$1.87b US$1.87b US$1.87b US$1.89b US$1.92b US$1.96b
Growth Rate Estimate Source Analyst x9 Analyst x6 Analyst x1 Analyst x1 Est @ -1.47% Est @ -0.31% Est @ 0.50% Est @ 1.06% Est @ 1.46% Est @ 1.73%
Present Value ($, Millions) Discounted @ 7.8% US$1.9k US$1.9k US$1.7k US$1.4k US$1.3k US$1.2k US$1.1k US$1.0k US$980 US$925

("Est" = FCF growth rate estimated by Simply Wall St)
Present Value of 10-year Cash Flow (PVCF) = US$14b

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 2.4%. We discount the terminal cash flows to today's value at a cost of equity of 7.8%.

Terminal Value (TV)= FCF2034 × (1 + g) ÷ (r – g) = US$2.0b× (1 + 2.4%) ÷ (7.8%– 2.4%) = US$37b

Present Value of Terminal Value (PVTV)= TV / (1 + r)10= US$37b÷ ( 1 + 7.8%)10= US$18b

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$31b. 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$26.7, the company appears quite good value at a 36% discount to where the stock price trades currently. 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.

dcf
NYSE:CTRA Discounted Cash Flow July 1st 2024

The 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 Coterra Energy 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 7.8%, which is based on a levered beta of 1.173. 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 Coterra Energy

Strength
  • Debt is not viewed as a risk.
  • Dividends are covered by earnings and cash flows.
Weakness
  • Earnings declined over the past year.
  • Dividend is low compared to the top 25% of dividend payers in the Oil and Gas market.
Opportunity
  • Annual earnings are forecast to grow faster than the American market.
  • Good value based on P/E ratio and estimated fair value.
Threat
  • Revenue is forecast to grow slower than 20% per year.

Looking Ahead:

Although the valuation of a company is important, it 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. 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. Why is the intrinsic value higher than the current share price? For Coterra Energy, we've compiled three further items you should further research:

  1. Risks: Be aware that Coterra Energy is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , you should know about...
  2. Future Earnings: How does CTRA'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.