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Valuating Capital Investment Projects Assessment

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Added on: 2023-03-03 06:04:12
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1. Growth Enterprises, Inc. (GEI) has $40 million that it can invest in any or all of the four capital investment projects, which have cash flows as shown in Table 1 below.

Each of these projects is considered to be of equivalent risk. The investment will be depreciated to zero on a straight-line basis for tax purposes. GEI’s marginal corporate tax rate on taxable income is 40%. None of the projects will have any salvage value at the end of their respective lives. For purposes of analysis, it should be assumed that all cash flows occur at the end of the year in question.

A. Rank GEI’s four projects according to the following four commonly used capital budgeting criteria:

1) Payback period.
2) Accounting return on investment. For purposes of this exercise, the accounting return on investment should be defined as follows:
3) Internal rate of return.
4) Net present value, assuming alternately a 10% discount rate and a 35% discount rate.

B. Why do the rankings differ? What does each technique measure and what assumptions does it make?

C. If the projects are independent of each other, which should be accepted? If they are mutually exclusive (i.e., one and only one can be accepted), which one is best?

2. Electronics Unlimited was considering the introduction of a new product that was expected to reach sales of $10 million in its first full year, and $13 million of sales in the second year. Because of intense competition and rapid product obsolescence, sales of the new product were expected to remain unchanged between the second and third years following introduction. Thereafter, annual sales were expected to decline to two-thirds of peak annual sales in the fourth year, and one-third of peak sales in the fifth year. No material levels of revenues or expenses associated with the new product were expected after five years of sales. Based on past experience, cost of sales for the new product were expected to be 60% of total annual sales revenue during each year of its life cycle. Selling, general, and administrative expenses were expected to be 23.5% of total annual sales. Taxes on profits generated by the new product would be paid at a 40% rate.

To launch the new product, Electronics Unlimited would have to incur immediate cash outlays of two types. First, it would have to invest $500,000 in specialized new production equipment. This capital investment would be fully depreciated on a straight-line basis over the five-year anticipated life cycle of the new product. It was not expected to have any material salvage value at the end of its depreciable life. No further fixed capital expenditures were required after the initial purchase of equipment.

Second, additional investment in net working capital to support sales would have to be made. Electronics Unlimited generally required 27¢ of net working capital to support each dollar of sales. As a practical matter, this buildup would have to be made by the beginning of the sales year in question (or, equivalently, by the end of the previous year). As sales grew, further investments in net working capital ahead of sales would have to be made. As sales diminished, net working capital would be liquidated and cash recovered. At the end of the new product’s life cycle, all remaining net working capital would be liquidated and the cash recovered.

Finally, Electronics Unlimited expected to incur tax-deductible introductory expenses of $200,000 in the first year of the new product’s sales. These costs would not be recurring over the product’s life cycle. Approximately $1.0 million had already been spent developing and test marketing the new product. These expenditures were also one-time expenses that would not be recurring during the new product’s life cycle.

A. Estimate the new product’s future sales, profits, and cash flows throughout its five-year life cycle.

B. Assuming a 20% discount rate, what is the product’s net present value? (Except for changes in net working capital, which must be made before the start of each sales year, you should assume that all cash flows occur at the end of the year in question.) What is its internal rate of return?

C. Should Electronics Unlimited introduce the new product?

3. You are the CEO of Valu-Added Industries, Inc. (VAI). Your firm has 10,000 shares of common stock outstanding, and the current price of the stock is $100 per share. There is no debt; thus, the “market value” balance sheet of VAI appears as follows:

You then discover an opportunity to invest in a new project that produces positive net cash flows with a present value of $210,000. Your total initial costs for investing and developing this project are only $110,000. You will raise the necessary capital for this investment by issuing new equity. All potential purchasers of your common stock will be fully aware of the project’s value and cost, and are willing to pay “fair value” for the new shares of VAI common.

A. What is the net present value of this project?

B. How many shares of common stock must be issued, and at what price, to raise the required capital?

C. What is the effect, if any, of this new project on the value of the stock of the existing shareholders?

4. Lockheed Tri Star and Capital Budgeting1

In 1971, the American aerospace company, Lockheed, found itself in Congressional hearings seeking a $250 million federal guarantee to secure bank credit required for the completion of the L-1011 Tri Star program. The L-1011 Tri Star Airbus was a wide-bodied commercial jet aircraft with a capacity of up to 400 passengers, competing with the DC-10 triject and the A 300B airbus.

Spokesmen for Lockheed claimed that the Tri Star program was economically sound and that their problem was merely a liquidity crisis caused by some unrelated military contracts. Opposing the guarantee, other parties argued that the Tri Star program had been economically unsound and doomed to financial failure from the very beginning.

The debate over the viability of the program centered on estimated “break-even sales” — the number of jets that would need to be sold for total revenue to cover all accumulated costs. Lockheed’s CEO, in his July 1971 testimony before Congress, asserted that this break-even point would be reached at sales somewhere between 195 and 205 aircraft. At that point, Lockheed had secured only 103 firm orders plus 75 options-to-buy, but they testified that sales would eventually exceed the break-even point and that the project would thus become “a commercially viable endeavor.” Lockheed also testified that it hoped to capture 35%-40% of the total free-world market of 775 wide bodies over the next decade (270-310 aircraft). This market estimate had been based on the optimistic assumption of 10% annual growth in air travel. At a more realistic 5% growth rate, the total world market would have been only about 323 aircraft.


The pre-production phases of the Tri Star project began at the end of 1967 and lasted four years after running about six months behind schedule. Various estimates of the initial development costs ranged between $800 million and $1 billion. A reasonable approximation of these cash outflows would be $900 million, occurring as follows:

According to Lockheed testimony, the production phase was to run from the end of 1971 to the end of 1977 with about 210 Tri Stars as the planned output. At that production rate, the average unit production cost would be about $14 million per aircraft.2 The inventory intensive production costs would be relatively front-loaded, so that the $490 million ($14 million per plane, 35 planes per year) annual production costs could be assumed to occur in six equal increments at the end of years 1971 through 1976 (t=4 through t=9).


In 1968, the expected price to be received for the L-1011 Tri Star was about $16 million per aircraft. These revenue flows would be characterized by a lag of a year to the production cost outflows; annual revenues of $560 million could be assumed to occur in six equal increments at the end of years 1972 through 1977 (t=5 through t=10). Inflation-escalation terms in the contracts ensured that any future inflation-based cost and revenue increases offset each other nearly exactly, thus providing no incremental net cash flow.
Deposits toward future deliveries were received from Lockheed customers. Roughly one quarter of the price of the aircraft was actually received two years early. For example, for a single Tri Star delivered at the end of 1972, $4 million of the price was received at the end of 1970, leaving $12 million of the $16 million price as cash flow at the end of 1972. So, for the 35 planes built (and presumably, sold) in a year, $140 million of the $560 million in total annual revenue was actually received as a cash flow two years earlier.

Discount Rate

Experts estimated that the cost of capital applicable to Lockheed’s cash flows (prior to Tri Star) was in the 9%-10% range. Since the Tri Star project was quite a bit riskier (by any measure) than the typical Lockheed operation, the appropriate discount rate was almost certainly higher than that. Thus, 10% was a reasonable (although possibly generous) estimate of the appropriate discount rate to apply to the Tri Star program’s cash flows.

Break-Even Revisited

In an August 1972 Time magazine article, Lockheed (after receiving government loan guarantees) revised its break-even sales volume: “[Lockheed] claims that it can get back its development costs [about $960 million] and start making a profit by selling 275 Tri Stars.”3 Industry analysts had predicted this (actually, they had estimated 300 units to be the break even volume) even prior to the Congressional hearings.4 Based on a “learning curve” effect, production costs at these levels (up to 300 units) would average only about $12.5 million per unit, instead of $14 million as above. Had Lockheed been able to produce and sell as many as 500 aircraft, this average cost figure might even have been as low as $11 million per aircraft.
A. At originally planned production levels (210 units), what would have been the estimated value of the Tri Star program as of the end of 1967?
B. At “break-even” production of roughly 300 units, did Lockheed break even in terms of net present value?
C. At what sales volume would the Tri Star program have reached true economic (as opposed to accounting) break-even?
D. Was the decision to pursue the Tri Star program a reasonable one? What effects would you predict the adoption of the Tri Star program would have on shareholder value?

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  • Posted on : March 03rd, 2023
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