×




Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A) 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 Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A) case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A) case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Rawi Abdelal. The Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A) (referred as “Sakhalin Shell” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Global Business. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Globalization, Joint ventures.

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 Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A) Case Study


Operations of Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia included a strategic alliance with Gazprom, the country's natural gas monopoly, the development of the Salym oil fields in Siberia, and a small retail refilling network in St. Petersburg. Focuses on the Sakhalin II project. Sakhalin II is the reason for the existence of the Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. (SEIC), owned by Royal Dutch/Shell (55%), Mitsui (25%), and Mitsubishi (20%). Worth approximately $10 billion, the second phase of Sakhalin II would be the single largest investment decision in the history of Royal Dutch/Shell, as well as the single largest foreign direct investment in Russia's history. Sakhalin II would also be the largest integrated oil and gas project in the world. The project, however, faces a number of challenges, however. A production sharing agreement (PSA)--a commercial contract between the foreign investor and a host government that replaces the country's tax and license regimes for the life of the project--governs Sakhalin II. Although Sakhalin II's PSA enjoys the status of Russian law, other Russian laws conflict with the terms of the PSA. PSAs have also become controversial within Russia. After several years of waiting in vain for "legal stabilization," Shell and SEIC executives must decide whether the project should go forward.


Case Authors : Rawi Abdelal

Topic : Global Business

Related Areas : Globalization, Joint ventures




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A) Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10015096) -10015096 - -
Year 1 3448146 -6566950 3448146 0.9434 3252968
Year 2 3954756 -2612194 7402902 0.89 3519719
Year 3 3946448 1334254 11349350 0.8396 3313514
Year 4 3223930 4558184 14573280 0.7921 2553655
TOTAL 14573280 12639855


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2624759

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. Profitability Index
3. Net Present Value
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. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Sakhalin Shell 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 Sakhalin Shell 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 Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A)

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 Global Business 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 Sakhalin Shell 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 Sakhalin Shell 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 (10015096) -10015096 - -
Year 1 3448146 -6566950 3448146 0.8696 2998388
Year 2 3954756 -2612194 7402902 0.7561 2990364
Year 3 3946448 1334254 11349350 0.6575 2594854
Year 4 3223930 4558184 14573280 0.5718 1843292
TOTAL 10426898


The Net NPV after 4 years is 411802

(10426898 - 10015096 )






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 (10015096) -10015096 - -
Year 1 3448146 -6566950 3448146 0.8333 2873455
Year 2 3954756 -2612194 7402902 0.6944 2746358
Year 3 3946448 1334254 11349350 0.5787 2283824
Year 4 3223930 4558184 14573280 0.4823 1554750
TOTAL 9458388


The Net NPV after 4 years is -556708

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9458388 - 10015096 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Sakhalin Shell 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 Sakhalin Shell has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Sakhalin Shell 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 Sakhalin Shell, then the stock price of the Sakhalin Shell 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 Sakhalin Shell 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 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 are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

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

Rawi Abdelal (2018), "Journey to Sakhalin: Royal Dutch/Shell in Russia (A) Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.