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Visa Is a Buy According to Dividends Discount Model

April 25, 2014 | About:

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) is the world's largest retail electronic payments network and leading payments brand, providing services to consumers, businesses and governments globally. Its P/E ratio indicates that the stock is relatively overvalued (26.7 vs 12.4 of industry mean). So now let's take a look at the intrinsic value of this company and try to explain to investors the reasons why it is a good buy or not.

In this article, we present a model that is by no means the be-all and end-all for valuation. The purpose is to force investors to evaluate different assumptions about growth and future prospects.


In stock valuation models, dividend discount models (DDM) define cash flow as the dividends to be received by the shareholders. Extending the period indefinitely, the fundamental value of the stock is the present value of an infinite stream of dividends according to John Burr Williams.

Although this is theoretically correct, it requires forecasting dividends for many periods, so we can use some growth models like: Gordon (constant) growth model, the Two or Three stage growth model or the H-Model (which is a special case of a two-stage model).

To start with, the Gordon Growth Model (GGM) assumes that dividends increase at a constant rate indefinitely.

Let´s estimate the inputs for modeling:

Required Rate of Return (r)

The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) estimates the required return on equity using the following formula: required return on stockj = risk-free rate + beta of j x equity risk premium


Risk-Free Rate: Rate of return on LT Government Debt: RF = 2.67%

Beta: β =0.6

GGM equity risk premium = (1-year forecasted dividend yield on market index) +(consensus long-term earnings growth rate) – (long-term government bond yield) = 2.13% + 11.97% - 2.67% = 11.43%[1]

rV = RF + βV [GGM ERP]

= 2.67% + 0.6 [11.43%]

= 9.53%

Dividend growth rate (g)

The sustainable growth rate is the rate at which earnings and dividends can grow indefinitely assuming that the firm´s debt-to-equity ratio is unchanged and it doesn´t issue new equity.

g = b x ROE

b = retention rate

ROE can be estimated using Dupont formula:

Because for most companies, the GGM is unrealistic, let´s consider the H-Model which assumes a growth rate that starts high and then declines linearly over the high growth stage, until it reverts to the long-run rate. A smoother transition to the mature phase growth rate that is more realistic.

Dividend growth rate (g) implied by Gordon growth model (long-run rate)

With the GGM formula and simple math:

The growth rates are:



















G(2), g(3) and g(4) are calculated using linear interpolation between g(1) and g(5).

Calculation of Intrinsic Value




Present value


Div 0




Div 1




Div 2




Div 3




Div 4




Div 5




Terminal Value



Intrinsic value



Current share price



Final Comment

When the stock price is lower than the intrinsic value, the stock is said to be undervalued and it makes sense to buy the stock. We have covered just one valuation method and investors should not be relied on alone in order to determine a fair (over/under) value for a potential investment.

Hedge fund gurus have also been active in the company. Gurus like Ray Dalio (Trades, Portfolio), Bill Nygren (Trades, Portfolio) and Ken Heebner (Trades, Portfolio) have bought the stock in fourth quarter of 2013.

Disclosure: Victor Selva holds no position in any stocks mentioned.

[1] This values where obtained from Blommberg´s CRP function.

Rating: 3.8/5 (5 votes)



Rainy872000 - 2 years ago    Report SPAM

Good. Fair value is close to Morningstar's estimate.

Camue01 - 2 years ago    Report SPAM

Thanks for the article, but in my view, it is of little value.

While it is nice to apply concepts like CAPM, DDM, H-Model and GGM to a specific example, I would feel sorry for anybody to buy a stock based on this analysis. Why am I so critical?

- Discounting: The concept of beta, though widely used, is useless in my view. It is nonsensical to measure risk as covariance of a stock's return with the market's return (both may be irrational). Beta is a backwards-looking figure and you make clear that your number is an estimate, so fair enough.

I also think that for the riskfree rate, you should not just take the current Treasury Yield, which is extraordinarily low in historical context, but consider the possibility of such the rate rising.

As your Equity market risk premium feels very high, I think you overall discount rate is still on the conservative side

- Growth: Again, I feel that just applying the CFA or business school textbook formula to assess a growth factor is a nice practice, but there should be more thinking involved. The model you quote relies in Visa being able to reinvest its retained earnings at the same RoE which they currently achieve. Is that realistic? Visa's RoE of 18.5% was the highest of the last 5 years, so it may not be. For a more conservative investor, taking the average of the last 5 or 10 years might make more sense. If not, it would be good to know why the RoE is expected to remain high.

Do you really believe Visa will grow at >8% to eternity?. In my view, your Casfh-Flow assumtions look very optimistic.

- Conclusion: So the stock was priced at 208 USD and your value is 218 und you conclude this makes it a buy? I mean, if you are just wrong by 5% on any of your numbers (or less than 5% on various of them), the stock may be overvalued. In my view, you should introduce a "margin of safety" concept, e.g. you need 25% undervaluation for something to be a buy. Personally, I would only buy, if I see at least 50% upside.

Again, thanks for the article, not looking to embarass, just constructive criticism...

Pavelg - 2 years ago    Report SPAM

Camue01, completely agree!

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