CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (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 CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (A) case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (A) case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Benoit Leleux, Bala Chakravarthy, Jonathan Lachowitz. The CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (A) (referred as “Az Clariant” 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, Entrepreneurial finance.

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 CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (A) Case Study

"It was late morning on January 21, 2004 and Dr Robert Easton was enjoying the beautiful sunshine and crisp mountain air on the ski slopes of Davos, Switzerland when his mobile phone rang. It was a call from Ken Greatbatch, the former CFO of Vantico, with very interesting news: Clariant's attempt to auction off its operating division, AZ Electronic Materials (AZ-EM), had failed. There was now a great chance of an exclusive deal for Carlyle to acquire the company. Clariant needed to make the deal happen, and fast; it had promised shareholders and analysts during the summer of 2003 that it would reduce its debt level by almost a??800 million. Six months had passed and the company had very little to show for its efforts. To dispose of its division, Clariant had initially engineered an auction among AZ-EM's closest competitors, but had not succeeded in finding a suitable buyer. Faced with the failed auction, increased pressure from shareholders and a clear need to raise cash rapidly, Clariant resorted to its second-best option - a negotiated sale with a qualified private equity buyer. The Carlyle Group immediately voiced an interest and offered to expedite due diligence if a deal could be negotiated rapidly. Speed was now of the essence for Clariant's top management team, who were very keen to figure out how quickly Easton and his team could move. Learning objectives: Buyout, due diligence, managing transition, turnaround management, leverage, incentives, restructuring."

Case Authors : Benoit Leleux, Bala Chakravarthy, Jonathan Lachowitz

Topic : Leadership & Managing People

Related Areas : Entrepreneurial finance

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (A) Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10017484) -10017484 - -
Year 1 3451997 -6565487 3451997 0.9434 3256601
Year 2 3981127 -2584360 7433124 0.89 3543189
Year 3 3961583 1377223 11394707 0.8396 3326221
Year 4 3231325 4608548 14626032 0.7921 2559512
TOTAL 14626032 12685523

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2668039

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. Net Present Value
2. Profitability Index
3. Payback Period
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. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Az Clariant 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. Az Clariant 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 CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (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 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 Az Clariant 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 Az Clariant 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 (10017484) -10017484 - -
Year 1 3451997 -6565487 3451997 0.8696 3001737
Year 2 3981127 -2584360 7433124 0.7561 3010304
Year 3 3961583 1377223 11394707 0.6575 2604805
Year 4 3231325 4608548 14626032 0.5718 1847521
TOTAL 10464366

The Net NPV after 4 years is 446882

(10464366 - 10017484 )

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 (10017484) -10017484 - -
Year 1 3451997 -6565487 3451997 0.8333 2876664
Year 2 3981127 -2584360 7433124 0.6944 2764672
Year 3 3961583 1377223 11394707 0.5787 2292583
Year 4 3231325 4608548 14626032 0.4823 1558316
TOTAL 9492235

The Net NPV after 4 years is -525249

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9492235 - 10017484 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Az Clariant 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 Az Clariant has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Az Clariant 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 Az Clariant, then the stock price of the Az Clariant 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 Az Clariant 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 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.

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.

Understanding of risks involved in 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

Benoit Leleux, Bala Chakravarthy, Jonathan Lachowitz (2018), "CARLYLE GROUP AND THE AZ-EM BUYOUT (A) Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.