Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT 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 Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by P.S. Tso, Samuel Tsang. The Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT (referred as “Privatization Housing” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Finance & Accounting. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Economy, Financial management, IPO, Regulation.

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 Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT Case Study

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) have proven to be popular investment vehicles in numerous countries, including the United States, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. They work by using the pooled capital of investors to purchase or manage property. Issued shares are traded on exchanges (in the same manner as stocks and mutual funds) and increase or decrease in value according to variations in the value of the trust's property portfolio, rental income, or other factors. To ease a growing budget deficit, the Hong Kong government's Housing Authority made plans to launch the territory's first publicly listed REIT, in hopes of raising much needed capital from the market. The privatization plan involved selling retail and car parking spaces within public housing estates to the incorporated Link property trust. However, the listing was held back due to the lawsuit raised by the public housing tenants, who worried the future management of the assets would not meet the needs of the existing tenants adequately. Illustrates the legal challenges facing a government and the associated impact to the key stakeholder groups in a privatization program. Also demonstrates the importance of a well-structured institutional framework in privatization.

Case Authors : P.S. Tso, Samuel Tsang

Topic : Finance & Accounting

Related Areas : Economy, Financial management, IPO, Regulation

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10027958) -10027958 - -
Year 1 3472105 -6555853 3472105 0.9434 3275571
Year 2 3955215 -2600638 7427320 0.89 3520127
Year 3 3940221 1339583 11367541 0.8396 3308286
Year 4 3235867 4575450 14603408 0.7921 2563110
TOTAL 14603408 12667093

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2639135

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. Internal Rate of Return
4. Payback Period

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 Privatization Housing 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. Privatization Housing 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 Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT

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 Finance & Accounting 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 Privatization Housing 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 Privatization Housing 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 (10027958) -10027958 - -
Year 1 3472105 -6555853 3472105 0.8696 3019222
Year 2 3955215 -2600638 7427320 0.7561 2990711
Year 3 3940221 1339583 11367541 0.6575 2590759
Year 4 3235867 4575450 14603408 0.5718 1850117
TOTAL 10450809

The Net NPV after 4 years is 422851

(10450809 - 10027958 )

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 (10027958) -10027958 - -
Year 1 3472105 -6555853 3472105 0.8333 2893421
Year 2 3955215 -2600638 7427320 0.6944 2746677
Year 3 3940221 1339583 11367541 0.5787 2280220
Year 4 3235867 4575450 14603408 0.4823 1560507
TOTAL 9480825

The Net NPV after 4 years is -547133

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9480825 - 10027958 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Privatization Housing 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 Privatization Housing has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Privatization Housing 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 Privatization Housing, then the stock price of the Privatization Housing 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 Privatization Housing 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.

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.

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

P.S. Tso, Samuel Tsang (2018), "Legality of Privatizing Public Assets: Link REIT Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.