Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010 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 Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010 case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010 case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Thomas J. Cook. The Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010 (referred as “Kurtenbach Daktronics” 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 analysis, Financial markets, Forecasting.

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 Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010 Case Study

In early March 2010, Bill Ritterath, Chief Financial Officer of Daktronics, Inc., was meeting in his office with Jim Morgan, CEO, and Alered (Al) Kurtenbach, Chairman of the Board, about increasing dividend payments to shareholders. Daktronics was the world's leading supplier of electronic scoreboards, large electronic display systems, and digital messaging solutions for use in sports, transportation and communications. The company had been going through a difficult period the past three years with the downturn in the national economy and the sudden reversal in the company's operating and financial performance. Sales were projected by security analysts to fall from a high of approximately $581 million in 2009 to an estimated value of $424 million for fiscal year 2010 ending in May [1]. Stock price had also fallen from a high of $38.66 per share on December 1, 2006 to $7.72 per share on March 3, 2010. But with the economy showing some signs of recovering from the recession, Dr. Kurtenbach thought it was time to review Daktronics' current dividend policy: "We can afford to return some additional cash to shareholders given our confidence that the company is turning around and business is improving." Cash balances were growing rapidly and the outlook for future cash flows was positive. In making the decision, Dr. Kurtenbach wanted it to be based on an assessment of the company's current cash position and future cash flow projections: "I don't want this dividend to reward short- term holders at the expense of our long-term shareholders" Dr. Kurtenbach asked Mr. Ritterath to make a recommendation at the next Board meeting (in four weeks) on a new dividend distribution, including both the amount and form of the distribution.

Case Authors : Thomas J. Cook

Topic : Finance & Accounting

Related Areas : Financial analysis, Financial markets, Forecasting

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010 Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10024348) -10024348 - -
Year 1 3451482 -6572866 3451482 0.9434 3256115
Year 2 3974735 -2598131 7426217 0.89 3537500
Year 3 3961727 1363596 11387944 0.8396 3326342
Year 4 3228151 4591747 14616095 0.7921 2556998
TOTAL 14616095 12676955

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2652607

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. Profitability Index
2. Internal Rate of Return
3. Payback Period
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. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Kurtenbach Daktronics 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. Kurtenbach Daktronics 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 Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010

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 Kurtenbach Daktronics 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 Kurtenbach Daktronics 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 (10024348) -10024348 - -
Year 1 3451482 -6572866 3451482 0.8696 3001289
Year 2 3974735 -2598131 7426217 0.7561 3005471
Year 3 3961727 1363596 11387944 0.6575 2604900
Year 4 3228151 4591747 14616095 0.5718 1845706
TOTAL 10457365

The Net NPV after 4 years is 433017

(10457365 - 10024348 )

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 (10024348) -10024348 - -
Year 1 3451482 -6572866 3451482 0.8333 2876235
Year 2 3974735 -2598131 7426217 0.6944 2760233
Year 3 3961727 1363596 11387944 0.5787 2292666
Year 4 3228151 4591747 14616095 0.4823 1556786
TOTAL 9485920

The Net NPV after 4 years is -538428

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9485920 - 10024348 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Kurtenbach Daktronics 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 Kurtenbach Daktronics has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Kurtenbach Daktronics 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 Kurtenbach Daktronics, then the stock price of the Kurtenbach Daktronics 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 Kurtenbach Daktronics 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 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.

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.

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

Thomas J. Cook (2018), "Daktronics (E): Dividend Policy in 2010 Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.