Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (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 Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (A) case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (A) case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Kevin McKague. The Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (A) (referred as “Livestock Chain” 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, Market research, Strategy, 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 Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (A) Case Study

The A case examines how CARE, a non-profit international development organization, begins to pursue a market-based approach to meeting its poverty-reduction mission. Specifically, a CARE project manager explores how previous work with low-income livestock herders in drought-prone eastern Kenya might offer an opportunity to work with value chain actors to improve access to markets and increase farmer incomes. With the Kenyan livestock project as the pilot for this new approach, Case A's main decision point concerns a strategic choice on what role CARE should play in the value chain to support low-income pastoralists. Options include 1) becoming directly involved in value chain transactions, buying and selling livestock and providing inputs to farmers or 2) acting as a value chain facilitator to provide the information and incentives to existing actors to make the value chain more efficient and inclusive for low-income producers. This strategic decision is part of a larger proposal that students are tasked to create for CARE's market-based livestock project. Case B describes the decisions CARE actually made in structuring the project and their choice to become directly involved in the value chain, buying cattle from farmers, negotiating a deal with a large farm to fatten the cattle and transporting the cattle to market. Case B is set three years into the project and begins to describe some of the serious challenges that their strategy is facing. Case B's decision point concerns developing options for how the project can be turned around, including that of CARE playing an indirect role as value chain facilitator and catalyst.

Case Authors : Kevin McKague

Topic : Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Related Areas : Entrepreneurship, Market research, Strategy, Supply chain

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (A) Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10018780) -10018780 - -
Year 1 3468546 -6550234 3468546 0.9434 3272213
Year 2 3982991 -2567243 7451537 0.89 3544848
Year 3 3955191 1387948 11406728 0.8396 3320855
Year 4 3241274 4629222 14648002 0.7921 2567393
TOTAL 14648002 12705308

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2686528

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. Internal Rate of Return
3. Profitability Index
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. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Livestock Chain 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 Livestock Chain 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 Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (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 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 Livestock Chain 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 Livestock Chain 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 (10018780) -10018780 - -
Year 1 3468546 -6550234 3468546 0.8696 3016127
Year 2 3982991 -2567243 7451537 0.7561 3011713
Year 3 3955191 1387948 11406728 0.6575 2600602
Year 4 3241274 4629222 14648002 0.5718 1853209
TOTAL 10481652

The Net NPV after 4 years is 462872

(10481652 - 10018780 )

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 (10018780) -10018780 - -
Year 1 3468546 -6550234 3468546 0.8333 2890455
Year 2 3982991 -2567243 7451537 0.6944 2765966
Year 3 3955191 1387948 11406728 0.5787 2288884
Year 4 3241274 4629222 14648002 0.4823 1563114
TOTAL 9508419

The Net NPV after 4 years is -510361

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9508419 - 10018780 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Livestock Chain 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 Livestock Chain has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Livestock Chain 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 Livestock Chain, then the stock price of the Livestock Chain 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 Livestock Chain 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 will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

Understanding of risks involved in 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 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

Kevin McKague (2018), "Value Chain Development: Care Kenya's Challenge to Make Markets Work for the Poor (A) Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.