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Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Robert G. Eccles, Catherine Zhang, Cheng-Hua Tzeng, Liang Cheng. The Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. (referred as “Zhangjiang Tech” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Organizational Development. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Economic development, Policy, Sustainability, Technology.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment




Case Description of Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. Case Study


This case is about the establishment, growth, and direction of the Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park ("Zhangjiang Park"), which is located in the Pudong New Area of Shanghai. Considered to be one of the most competitive hi-tech industry clusters in China, the combined business strategy of Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. ("Zhangjiang Hi-Tech"), a key operator of Zhangjiang Park, included real estate development, hi-tech investment, and integrated services. As of the time of the case, members of the Board of Directors of Zhangjiang Hi-Tech were faced with open questions such as how Zhangjiang Park would be able to maintain its sustainable competitiveness in comparison with other hi-tech and industrial parks in China. Board members were also concerned with how Zhangjiang Hi-Tech would be able to meet the needs of both capital market and regional development.


Case Authors : Robert G. Eccles, Catherine Zhang, Cheng-Hua Tzeng, Liang Cheng

Topic : Organizational Development

Related Areas : Economic development, Policy, Sustainability, Technology




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027202) -10027202 - -
Year 1 3443479 -6583723 3443479 0.9434 3248565
Year 2 3958974 -2624749 7402453 0.89 3523473
Year 3 3938371 1313622 11340824 0.8396 3306732
Year 4 3248786 4562408 14589610 0.7921 2573343
TOTAL 14589610 12652113


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2624911

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting


What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.




Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting


There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Internal Rate of Return
2. Payback Period
3. Net Present Value
4. Profitability Index

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Zhangjiang Tech have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.
2. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Zhangjiang Tech shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.




Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd.

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Organizational Development Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Zhangjiang Tech often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Zhangjiang Tech needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027202) -10027202 - -
Year 1 3443479 -6583723 3443479 0.8696 2994330
Year 2 3958974 -2624749 7402453 0.7561 2993553
Year 3 3938371 1313622 11340824 0.6575 2589543
Year 4 3248786 4562408 14589610 0.5718 1857504
TOTAL 10434929


The Net NPV after 4 years is 407727

(10434929 - 10027202 )






Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%


If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027202) -10027202 - -
Year 1 3443479 -6583723 3443479 0.8333 2869566
Year 2 3958974 -2624749 7402453 0.6944 2749288
Year 3 3938371 1313622 11340824 0.5787 2279150
Year 4 3248786 4562408 14589610 0.4823 1566737
TOTAL 9464740


The Net NPV after 4 years is -562462

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9464740 - 10027202 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Zhangjiang Tech to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.



Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Zhangjiang Tech has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Zhangjiang Tech can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Zhangjiang Tech, then the stock price of the Zhangjiang Tech should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Zhangjiang Tech should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.




References & Further Readings

Robert G. Eccles, Catherine Zhang, Cheng-Hua Tzeng, Liang Cheng (2018), "Shanghai Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park Development Co., Ltd. Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.