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Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship 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 Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship case study


At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Ali Farhoomand, Claudia H. L. Woo. The Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship (referred as “Hkbi Lee” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Innovation & Entrepreneurship. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, Supply chain.

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 Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship Case Study


Hong Kong Business Intermediary ("HKBI") was Hong Kong's first business brokerage company that specialised in small business sales. Leading the company was Edwin Lee, a young entrepreneur who took his every chance to drive the company to new levels of success. In November 2001, after realising that there were no business brokerage firms in Hong Kong, Lee set up HKBI and started to offer "matchmaking" services for prospective business sellers and buyers. As the company diversified into too many additional services without proper planning, the rising operation cost turned into a cash flow disaster for HKBI in 2005. Lee then restructured his business model into a more systematic and integrated way and successfully turned his company around, earning himself the award of Hong Kong's Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year 2007. HKBI's business model and efforts in promoting entrepreneurship had also received recognition worldwide. Meanwhile, local rivals began to tap into the under-developed sector in Hong Kong, and many of them were former HKBI employees. Lee knew when a blue ocean began to turn red, he needed to continue to reinvent his business to safeguard HKBI's market leader position. He envisioned HKBI to become a small business property developer in the future. How did Lee distinguish HKBI from others by associating the business brokerage operation with the finance, private equity and property markets in an innovative way? How did take it as his employees striking out on their own and becoming his competitors while one the objectives of HKBI was to promote entrepreneurship?


Case Authors : Ali Farhoomand, Claudia H. L. Woo

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Related Areas : Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, Supply chain




Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship Case Study


Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Discounted
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10011018) -10011018 - -
Year 1 3459868 -6551150 3459868 0.9434 3264026
Year 2 3974519 -2576631 7434387 0.89 3537308
Year 3 3958851 1382220 11393238 0.8396 3323928
Year 4 3246322 4628542 14639560 0.7921 2571391
TOTAL 14639560 12696653


The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2685635

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. Net Present Value
3. Payback Period
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 Hkbi Lee 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. Hkbi Lee 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 Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship

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 Hkbi Lee 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 Hkbi Lee 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 (10011018) -10011018 - -
Year 1 3459868 -6551150 3459868 0.8696 3008581
Year 2 3974519 -2576631 7434387 0.7561 3005307
Year 3 3958851 1382220 11393238 0.6575 2603009
Year 4 3246322 4628542 14639560 0.5718 1856095
TOTAL 10472992


The Net NPV after 4 years is 461974

(10472992 - 10011018 )






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 (10011018) -10011018 - -
Year 1 3459868 -6551150 3459868 0.8333 2883223
Year 2 3974519 -2576631 7434387 0.6944 2760083
Year 3 3958851 1382220 11393238 0.5787 2291002
Year 4 3246322 4628542 14639560 0.4823 1565549
TOTAL 9499857


The Net NPV after 4 years is -511161

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9499857 - 10011018 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Hkbi Lee 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 Hkbi Lee has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Hkbi Lee 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 Hkbi Lee, then the stock price of the Hkbi Lee 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 Hkbi Lee 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 can impact the cash flow of the project.

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.

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

Ali Farhoomand, Claudia H. L. Woo (2018), "Hong Kong Business Intermediary: The Dynamic of Innovative Entrepreneurship Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.