Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand 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 Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Jianping Liang, Hubert Pun, Jing Chen. The Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand (referred as “Stone Paper” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Operations management.

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 Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand Case Study

In 2016, Hong Kong-based Maxim's Group hired a store manager to run its high-end French bakery, Paper Stone, located in mainland China. The company's aim was to eventually expand Paper Stone to additional cities throughout China. The store manager was preparing to present his vision for Paper Stone to a senior executive from Maxim's Group but needed to determine his position on some key questions: What kind of employees should he hire, and how should he go about managing the employees? What management structure should he recommend? How should he market the Paper Stone brand?

Case Authors : Jianping Liang, Hubert Pun, Jing Chen

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Related Areas : Operations management

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10029579) -10029579 - -
Year 1 3462434 -6567145 3462434 0.9434 3266447
Year 2 3969814 -2597331 7432248 0.89 3533120
Year 3 3938956 1341625 11371204 0.8396 3307223
Year 4 3235530 4577155 14606734 0.7921 2562843
TOTAL 14606734 12669634

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2640055

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

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 Stone Paper 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. Stone Paper 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 Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand

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 Innovation & Entrepreneurship 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 Stone Paper 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 Stone Paper 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 (10029579) -10029579 - -
Year 1 3462434 -6567145 3462434 0.8696 3010812
Year 2 3969814 -2597331 7432248 0.7561 3001750
Year 3 3938956 1341625 11371204 0.6575 2589928
Year 4 3235530 4577155 14606734 0.5718 1849925
TOTAL 10452414

The Net NPV after 4 years is 422835

(10452414 - 10029579 )

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 (10029579) -10029579 - -
Year 1 3462434 -6567145 3462434 0.8333 2885362
Year 2 3969814 -2597331 7432248 0.6944 2756815
Year 3 3938956 1341625 11371204 0.5787 2279488
Year 4 3235530 4577155 14606734 0.4823 1560344
TOTAL 9482010

The Net NPV after 4 years is -547569

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9482010 - 10029579 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Stone Paper 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 Stone Paper has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Stone Paper 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 Stone Paper, then the stock price of the Stone Paper 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 Stone Paper 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

Jianping Liang, Hubert Pun, Jing Chen (2018), "Paper Stone: Building a Bakery Industry Luxury Brand Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.