Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy 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 Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Jennifer Walske, Laura D'Andrea Tyson. The Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy (referred as “Bridges U.k” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Finance & Accounting. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Financial management, Government, Social responsibility.

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 Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy Case Study

This case focuses on Bridges Fund Management (Bridges), an early leader in the impact investing space, with offices located in both the U.K. and the U.S. Bridges has been in operation for fifteen years and has raised, through early 2017, over $1billion in capital across its 12 funds. While the firm was originally founded by two members the U.K.'s Social Investment Task Force (SITF), Sir Ronald Cohen (now Advisory Board Chair) and Michele Giddens (now one of Bridges most senior partners), the firm now has seventeen partners located either in its U.K. or U.S. offices. Bridges' third co-founder, Philip Newborough, serves as Bridges' overall Managing Partner. The case asks: how might the changing political environment in both the U.S. and U.K. in early 2017 impact Bridges in its ability to raise future funds and in the level of support (financial or otherwise) available to its investments, also known as portfolio companies? Bridges addresses social issues by investing in companies that provide both a financial return and social impact. For example, Bridges improves unemployment through investments in the Babington Group which provides job training to youth; improves healthcare and well-being by investments in Alina and Home Care which serve aging populations; and improves access to housing through its property funds with investments in the Old Vinyl Factory in the U.K. and the Spoke housing complex in the U.S.

Case Authors : Jennifer Walske, Laura D'Andrea Tyson

Topic : Finance & Accounting

Related Areas : Financial management, Government, Social responsibility

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10007026) -10007026 - -
Year 1 3462119 -6544907 3462119 0.9434 3266150
Year 2 3975926 -2568981 7438045 0.89 3538560
Year 3 3947284 1378303 11385329 0.8396 3314216
Year 4 3242728 4621031 14628057 0.7921 2568544
TOTAL 14628057 12687470

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2680444

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

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

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy

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 Finance & Accounting 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 Bridges U.k 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 Bridges U.k 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 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10007026) -10007026 - -
Year 1 3462119 -6544907 3462119 0.8696 3010538
Year 2 3975926 -2568981 7438045 0.7561 3006371
Year 3 3947284 1378303 11385329 0.6575 2595403
Year 4 3242728 4621031 14628057 0.5718 1854040
TOTAL 10466353

The Net NPV after 4 years is 459327

(10466353 - 10007026 )

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 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10007026) -10007026 - -
Year 1 3462119 -6544907 3462119 0.8333 2885099
Year 2 3975926 -2568981 7438045 0.6944 2761060
Year 3 3947284 1378303 11385329 0.5787 2284308
Year 4 3242728 4621031 14628057 0.4823 1563816
TOTAL 9494282

The Net NPV after 4 years is -512744

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9494282 - 10007026 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Bridges U.k 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 Bridges U.k has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Bridges U.k 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 Bridges U.k, then the stock price of the Bridges U.k 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 Bridges U.k 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 –

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

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.

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

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

Jennifer Walske, Laura D'Andrea Tyson (2018), "Bridges Fund Management: Navigating Changes in the Political Economy Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.