Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm 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 Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Wolfgang Messner, Hyo Jin Yoon. The Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm (referred as “Daimler Media” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Organizational Development. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Manufacturing, Public relations.

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 Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm Case Study

The chief executive officer of Daimler Trucks and Buses China Ltd. was on an expatriate assignment in China. In November 2016, he faced a discomforting situation that could bring an abrupt halt to his career; an unfortunate incident in which he lost his temper led to fierce outrage in local Chinese and worldwide media. The media reaction threatened China's prominence as a major source of revenue for Daimler, and sent Daimler's share price on a downhill spiral. How should Daimler react, and what could it do to restore the company brand image? Wolfgang Messner and Hyo Jin Yoon are affiliated with University of South Carolina.

Case Authors : Wolfgang Messner, Hyo Jin Yoon

Topic : Organizational Development

Related Areas : Manufacturing, Public relations

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10009684) -10009684 - -
Year 1 3443435 -6566249 3443435 0.9434 3248524
Year 2 3980227 -2586022 7423662 0.89 3542388
Year 3 3971170 1385148 11394832 0.8396 3334271
Year 4 3226821 4611969 14621653 0.7921 2555944
TOTAL 14621653 12681127

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2671443

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 Daimler Media 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. Daimler Media 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 Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm

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 Daimler Media 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 Daimler Media 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 (10009684) -10009684 - -
Year 1 3443435 -6566249 3443435 0.8696 2994291
Year 2 3980227 -2586022 7423662 0.7561 3009623
Year 3 3971170 1385148 11394832 0.6575 2611109
Year 4 3226821 4611969 14621653 0.5718 1844945
TOTAL 10459969

The Net NPV after 4 years is 450285

(10459969 - 10009684 )

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 (10009684) -10009684 - -
Year 1 3443435 -6566249 3443435 0.8333 2869529
Year 2 3980227 -2586022 7423662 0.6944 2764047
Year 3 3971170 1385148 11394832 0.5787 2298131
Year 4 3226821 4611969 14621653 0.4823 1556144
TOTAL 9487851

The Net NPV after 4 years is -521833

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9487851 - 10009684 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Daimler Media 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 Daimler Media has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Daimler Media 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 Daimler Media, then the stock price of the Daimler Media 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 Daimler Media 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 can impact the cash flow of 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 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 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.

Negotiation Strategy of Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm

References & Further Readings

Wolfgang Messner, Hyo Jin Yoon (2018), "Daimler China: Facing a Media Firestorm Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.

Codes Combine SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Consumer Cyclical , Apparel/Accessories

Jilin Guanghua A SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Capital Goods , Construction Services

Esprinet SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Technology , Computer Hardware

Shanghai Kindly SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Healthcare , Medical Equipment & Supplies

Foxconn SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Technology , Computer Peripherals

Exore Resources SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Basic Materials , Gold & Silver

Nimble SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Consumer Cyclical , Audio & Video Equipment

Hansteen SWOT Analysis / TOWS Matrix

Services , Real Estate Operations