Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade 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 Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Mary Weil, Leon Li. The Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade (referred as “Shark's Soup” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Leadership & Managing People. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, .

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 Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade Case Study

The owner of The Jade Seafood Restaurant in Richmond, BC, is ambushed by an impromptu media interview with animal rights activists regarding his restaurant's serving of shark's fin soup. This soup has been an upper-class staple delicacy in China for over 400 years; with the increased consumer power that has resulted from the growth of the Chinese economy since 1970, it has become the signature dish for families celebrating important occasions and for sealing business and political deals. However, research has shown that sharks have become a highly endangered species, in part because of the practice of harvesting only the fins and throwing away the rest of the carcass and because of the small birth rate and slow growth development of the fish. The consumption of shark's fin soup in Chinese culture has become an easy target for animal rights activists because it is so localized. How should the owner react to this media ambush? If he removes this culturally important item from his menu, how will this affect his business in the highly competitive Asian restaurant environment in Richmond? Should a cultural norm trump real concerns about the consumption of an endangered species?

Case Authors : Mary Weil, Leon Li

Topic : Leadership & Managing People

Related Areas :

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10019384) -10019384 - -
Year 1 3461872 -6557512 3461872 0.9434 3265917
Year 2 3975706 -2581806 7437578 0.89 3538364
Year 3 3972169 1390363 11409747 0.8396 3335110
Year 4 3230553 4620916 14640300 0.7921 2558901
TOTAL 14640300 12698291

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2678907

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. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Shark's Soup 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. Shark's Soup 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 Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade

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 Leadership & Managing People 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 Shark's Soup 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 Shark's Soup 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 (10019384) -10019384 - -
Year 1 3461872 -6557512 3461872 0.8696 3010323
Year 2 3975706 -2581806 7437578 0.7561 3006205
Year 3 3972169 1390363 11409747 0.6575 2611766
Year 4 3230553 4620916 14640300 0.5718 1847079
TOTAL 10475373

The Net NPV after 4 years is 455989

(10475373 - 10019384 )

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 (10019384) -10019384 - -
Year 1 3461872 -6557512 3461872 0.8333 2884893
Year 2 3975706 -2581806 7437578 0.6944 2760907
Year 3 3972169 1390363 11409747 0.5787 2298709
Year 4 3230553 4620916 14640300 0.4823 1557944
TOTAL 9502453

The Net NPV after 4 years is -516931

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9502453 - 10019384 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Shark's Soup 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 Shark's Soup has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Shark's Soup 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 Shark's Soup, then the stock price of the Shark's Soup 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 Shark's Soup 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 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 will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

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.

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 Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade

References & Further Readings

Mary Weil, Leon Li (2018), "Shark's Fin Soup at The Jade Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.

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