The Investment Detective
The essence of capital budgeting and resource allocation is a search for good investments in which to place the firm’s capital. The process can be simple when viewed in purely mechanical terms, but a number of subtle issues can obscure the best investment choices. The capital budgeting analyst is necessarily, therefore, a detective who must winnow good evidence from bad. Much of the challenges is knowing what quantitative analysis to generate in the first place.
Supposed you are a new capital budgeting analyst for a company considering investments in the eight projects listed in Exhibit 1. The chief financial officer of your company has asked you to rank the projects and recommend the “four best” that the company should accept.
For the first part of this assignment only quantitative considerations are relevant. No other project characteristics are deciding factors in the selection, except that management has determined that projects 7 and 8 are mutually exclusive.
All projects require the same initial investment, $2,000,000. Moreover, all are believed to be of the same risk class. The weighted average cost of capital for the first part is 10%. To simulate your analysis, consider the following questions:
1. Can you rank the projects simply by inspecting the cash flows?
We cannot rank the projects by simply inspecting the cash flows. We must bring all cash flows at the same point in time (present) before comparing. This is because of time value of money. A dollar received now is more valuable than a dollar received sometime in the future. Thus, it is important that we bring all the cash flows to the present time before comparing.
2. What criteria might you use to rank the projects? Which quantitative ranking methods are better? Why?
There are several criteria that we can use to rank the projects. Some of the criteria are as follows:
2) Payback Period
NPV results in...