Here's an excerpt from an interview between Magellan fund co-founder Hamish Douglass and AFR reporter Vesna Poljak, which appeared in the Australian Financial Review article ‘It's all about interest rates: Hamish Douglass’, 19 July 2019:
Take a business growing at 4 per cent a year, with a cost of equity of 10 per cent based off a 5 per cent risk-free rate and a 5 per cent market risk premium: you would value that at around 16.6 times free cashflow.
Now take a business growing at the same rate, with a 4 per cent risk free rate. At a 9 per cent cost of equity that would command a 20 times multiple, he says.
At a 3 per cent risk-free rate, the cost of equity is 8 per cent, and the multiple is 25.
Finally at 2 per cent – 'which is where the world is at the moment' – the same business would be worth around 33 times free cashflow.
In August 2021, the RBA overnight cash rate and 3 year Australian government treasury bond yield were both 0.1% pa. If this low risk-free yield was expected to persist forever, what approximate equity price-to-cashflow multiple would that imply for a business expected to grow at 4% pa in perpetuity with a 5% equity risk premium?