## What is the Terminal Value?

During the evaluation of the company using discounted cash flow, not all the cash flows till infinity are taken and hence after a certain number of years, the possible value of the company’s assets or approximate value of future cash flows are used as

terminal valueand the discounted cash flow is carried upon.

It is the value of a company’s expected free cash flow beyond the period of an explicit projected financial model.

This tutorial focuses on ways in which Terminal Value is calculated in the context of preparing Financial Model in excel. –

- Calculate Terminal Value?
- Steps in Calculating Terminal Value
- Formula
- Perpetuity Growth & Exit Multiple Method
- Excel Example
- Alibaba’s TV (using Perpetuity Growth Method)
- Can it ever be Negative?
- Limitations

**Useful Downloads – 1) Free Terminal Value Excel Templates (used in the post) and 2) Alibaba IPO TV Calculation Model**

Download Terminal Value Templates

### Calculate Terminal Value

Terminal value calculation is a key requirement of the Discounted Cash Flow.

- It is very difficult to project the company’s financial statements showing how they would develop over a longer period of time.
- The confidence level of financial statement projection diminishes exponentially for years, which are way farther from today.
- Also, macroeconomic conditions affecting the business and the country may change structurally.
- Therefore, we simplify and use certain average assumptions to find the value of the firm beyond the forecast period (called “
**Terminal Value”**) as provided by Financial Modeling.

The following graph shows how to calculate Terminal Value.

### Steps in Calculating Terminal Value

In this section, I have briefed the overall approach to performing the Discounted Cash Flows or DCF valuation of any company. Especially, please note **Step # 3,** where we calculate the Terminal Value of the Firm to find the Fair value of Share.

###### Step # 1: Create the Infrastructure (not discussed in this article)

Prepare a blank excel sheet with Separate Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flows (last 5 years)

Populate the historical financial statements (IS, BS, CF) and do the necessary adjustment for Non-recurring items (one time expenses or gains).

Perform the Ratio Analysis for Historical years to understand the company

###### Step #2: Project the Financial Statements and FCFF (not discussed in this article)

- Forecasting of Income Statement (P&L) is most important for analysts. Hence, you must devote a lot of time to this. In this, you need to read through the annual report and other documents to get a solid understanding of forecasting.
- It is advisable that you also read through other brokerage house research reports to understand how they have modeled sales numbers.
- Forecast the financial statements for the next 5 years (explicit forecast period) – financial model
- When you forecast the company’s financial statements, you must only project the financial statements of the company for the next 4-5 years and generally not beyond that.
- We can theoretically project the financial statements for the next 100-200 years; however, if we do so, we introduce a lot of volatility based on assumptions.

###### Step #3: Find the fair Share Price of the Firm by discounting the FCFF and TV

- Calculate FCFF for the next 5 years as derived from the Financial Model
- Apply a suitable WACC (weighted average cost of capital) from the capital structure calculations.
**Calculate the Present Value of the Explicit Period FCFF****Calculate the Value of the Company (period beyond the Explicit Period)****Enterprise Value = Present Value (Explicit Period FCFF) + Present Value (TV)**- Find Equity Value of the Firm after deducting Net Debt.
- Divide Equity Value of the Firm by the total number of shares to arrive at the “Intrinsic Fair Value” of the company.
- Recommend whether to “BUY” or “SELL”

Also, look at Enterprise Value vs. Equity Value

### Terminal Value Formula

An important assumption here is the “**Going Concern” **of the company. In other words, the company will not stop its business operations after a few years; however, it will continue to do business forever. The value of the firm (Enterprise Value) is basically the present value of all the future Free Cash Flows to the Firm.

We can represent the value of the firm using the terminal value formula below –

t = time, WACC is the weighted average cost of capital or discount rate, FCFF is the Free Cash Flows to Firm

We can break the above terminal value formula into two parts 1) Present Value of Explicit forecast, 2) Present Value of TV

### 3 Types of Terminal Value Formulas

There is three formula for calculating Terminal Value of the Firm. The first two approaches assume that the company will exist on a going concern basis at the time of estimation of TV. The third approach assumes the company is taken over by a larger corporate, thereby paying the acquisition price. Let us look at these approaches in detail.

#### 1) Perpetuity Growth Method or the Gordon Growth Perpetuity Model

Please remember that the assumption here is that of “going concern”.

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This method is the preferred formula to calculate the Terminal Value of the firm. This method assumes that the growth of the company will continue (stable growth rate), and the return on capital will be more than the cost of capital. We discount the Free cash flow to the firm beyond the projected years and find the Terminal Value.

Using cool maths, we can simplify the formula as per below –

Numerator of the above formula can also be written as **FCFF (6) = FCFF (5) x (1+ growth rate)**

The revised terminal value formula is as follows –

A reasonable estimate of the stable growth rate here is the GDP growth rate of the country. Gordon Growth Method can be applied in companies that are mature, and the growth rate is relatively stable. An example could be mature companies in the automobile sector, the consumer goods sector, etc.

#### 2) No Growth Perpetuity Model

This formula assumes that the growth rate is zero! This assumption implies that the return on new investments is equal to the cost of capital.

Non-growth perpetuity terminal value formula

This methodology may be useful in sectors where competition is high, and the opportunity to earn excess returns tend to move to zero.

#### 3) Exit Multiple Method

This formula uses the underlying assumption that a market multiple bases is a fair approach to value a Business. A value is typically determined as a multiple of EBIT or EBITDA. For cyclical businesses, instead of the EBITDA or EBIT amount at the end year n, we use an average EBIT or EBITDA over the course of a cycle. For example, if the metals and mining sector is trading at 8 times the EV/EBITDA multiple, then the TV of the company implied using this method would be 8 x EBITDA of the company.

### Terminal Value Calculation Example in Excel

In this example, we calculate the fair value of the stock using the two-terminal value calculation approaches discussed above. You can download the Terminal Value Excel template for the example below –

In addition to the above information, you have the following information –

- Debt = $100
- Cash = $50
- Number of shares = 100

Find the per share fair value of the stock using the two proposed terminal value calculation method

##### Share Price Calculation – using the Perpetuity Growth Method

**Step 1 –** Calculate the NPV of the Free Cash Flow to Firm for the explicit forecast period (2014-2018)

**Step 2 –** Calculate Terminal Value of the Stock (at the end of 2018) using the Perpetuity Growth method

**Step 3 –** Calculate the Present Value of the TV

**Step 4 –** Calculate the Enterprise Value and the Share Price

Please note that in this example, the Terminal value contribution towards Enterprise value is 78%! This is no exception. Generally, you will note that it contributes to 60-80% of the total value.

##### Share Price Calculation – using Exit Multiple Method.

**Step 1 –** Calculate the NPV of the Free Cash Flow to Firm for the explicit forecast period (2014-2018). Please refer to the above method, where we have already completed this step.

**Step 2 –** Calculate Terminal Value of the Stock (at the end of 2018) using the Exit Multiple Method. Let us assume that in this industry, the average companies are trading at 7x EV/EBITDA multiple. We can apply this very same multiple to find the TV of this stock.

**Step 3** – Calculate the Present Value of the TV

**Step 4 –** Calculate the Enterprise Value and the Share Price

Please note that in this example, TV **contribution towards Enterprise value is 77%!**

With both methods, we are getting share prices that are very close to each other. Sometimes, you may note large variations in the share prices, and in that case, you need to validate your assumptions to investigate such a large difference in share prices using the two methodologies.

### Alibaba’s Terminal Value (using the Perpetuity Growth Method)

You may download Alibaba’s Financial Model from here. The below diagram details the free cash flow to the firm of Alibaba and the approach to find the fair valuation of the firm.

**Valuation of Alibaba = **Present Value of FCFF (2015-2022) + Present Value of FCFF (2023 until infinite “TV”)

Step 1 – Calculate the NPV of the Free Cash flow to Firm of Alibaba for the explicit period (2015-2022)

Step 2 – Calculate Terminal value of Alibaba at the end of the year 2022 – In this DCF model, we have used the Perpetuity Growth method to calculate the Terminal Value of Alibaba

Step 3. Calculate the Net Present Value of the TV.

Step 4 – Calculate the Enterprise Value and Fair Share Price of Alibaba

Please note that TV contributes approximately 72% of the total Enterprise Value in the case of Alibaba

### Can Terminal Value be Negative?

Theoretically, YES, Practically NO!

Theoretically, this can happen when the Terminal value is calculated using the perpetuity growth method.

In the terminal value formula above, if we assume **WACC < growth rate**, then the value derived from the formula will be Negative. This is very difficult to digest as a high growth company is now showing a negative terminal value just because of the formula used. However, this high growth rate assumption is incorrect. We cannot assume that a company is going to grow at a very high rate until infinite. If this is the case, then this company will attract all the capital available in the world. Eventually, the company would become the entire economy and all people working for this company (Awesome! unfortunately, this is unlikely!)

When doing valuation, a negative terminal value doesn’t exist practically. However, if the company is in huge losses and is going bankrupt in the future, the equity value will become zero. Another cause could be if the company’s product is becoming obsolete like the typewriters or pagers, or Blackberry(?). Here also, you may land up in a situation where equity value may literally become closer to zero.

### Limitations of Terminal Value

- Please note If we use the exit multiple methods, then we are mixing the Discounted Cash Flow approach with the Relative Valuation Approach as the exit multiples have arrived from the comparable firms.
- It typically contributes more than 75% of the total value. This becomes a bit risky if you take into account the fact that this value varies a lot with even a 1% change in WACC or Growth Rates.
- There can be companies like Box, which demonstrate negative Free Cash Flow to Firm. In this case, none of the three approaches will work. This implies that you cannot apply a Discounted Cash Flow approach. The only way to value such a firm will be to use Relative valuation multiples.
- Growth Rate cannot be greater than WACC. If such is the case, then you cannot apply the Perpetuity Growth Method to calculate Terminal Value.

### Terminal Value Video

### Conclusion

Terminal Value is a very important concept in Discounted Cash Flows as it accounts for more than 60%-80% of the total valuation of the firm. You should put special attention in assuming the growth rates (g), discount rates (WACC), and the multiples (PE ratio, Price to Book, PEG Ratio, EV/EBITDA, or EV/EBIT). It is also helpful to calculate the terminal value using the two methods (perpetuity growth method and exit multiple methods) and validate the assumptions used.

### What’s Next?

If you learned something new or enjoyed the post, please leave a comment below. Let me know what you think. Many thanks, and take care. Happy Learning!