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# Chapter 5

## Net Present Value and Other Investment Rules

Key Concepts and Skills
□ Be able to compute payback and discounted
payback and understand their shortcomings
□ Be able to compute the internal rate of return and
profitability index, understanding the strengths
and weaknesses of both approaches
□ Be able to compute net present value and
understand why it is the best decision criterion

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Chapter Outline
5.1 Why Use Net Present Value?
5.2 The Payback Period Method
5.3 The Discounted Payback Period Method
5.4 The Internal Rate of Return
5.5 Problems with the IRR Approach
5.6 The Profitability Index
5.7 The Practice of Capital Budgeting

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5.1 Why Use Net Present Value?
□ Accepting positive NPV projects benefits
shareholders.
✓ NPV uses all the cash flows of the project
✓ NPV discounts the cash flows properly

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The Net Present Value (NPV) Rule
□ Net Present Value (NPV) =
Total PV of future CF’s + Initial Investment
□ Estimating NPV:
1. Estimate future cash flows: how much? and when?
2. Estimate discount rate
3. Estimate initial costs
□ Minimum Acceptance Criteria: Accept if NPV > 0
□ Ranking Criteria: Choose the highest NPV

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□ Spreadsheets are an excellent way to compute
NPVs, especially when you have to compute
the cash flows as well.
□ Using the NPV function:
■ The first component is the required return entered
as a decimal.
■ The second component is the range of cash flows
beginning with year 1.
■ Add the initial investment after computing the
NPV.
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5.2 The Payback Period Method
□ How long does it take the project to “pay
back” its initial investment?
□ Payback Period = number of years to recover
initial costs
□ Minimum Acceptance Criteria:
■ Set by management

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The Payback Period Method
■ Ignores the time value of money
■ Ignores cash flows after the payback period
■ Biased against long-term projects
■ Requires an arbitrary acceptance criteria
■ A project accepted based on the payback
criteria may not have a positive NPV
■ Easy to understand
■ Biased toward liquidity
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5.3 The Discounted Payback Period
□ How long does it take the project to “pay
back” its initial investment, taking the time
value of money into account?
□ Decision rule: Accept the project if it pays
back on a discounted basis within the specified
time.
□ By the time you have discounted the cash
flows, you might as well calculate the NPV.

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5.4 The Internal Rate of Return
□ IRR: the discount rate that sets NPV to zero
□ Minimum Acceptance Criteria:
■ Accept if the IRR exceeds the required return
□ Ranking Criteria:
■ Select alternative with the highest IRR
□ Reinvestment assumption:
■ All future cash flows are assumed to be
reinvested at the IRR

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Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
■ Does not distinguish between investing and
borrowing
■ IRR may not exist, or there may be multiple IRRs
■ Problems with mutually exclusive investments

■ Easy to understand and communicate

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IRR: Example
Consider the following project:
\$50 \$100 \$150

0 1 2 3
-\$200
The internal rate of return for this project is 19.44%

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NPV Payoff Profile
If we graph NPV versus the discount rate, we can see the IRR
as the x-axis intercept.

IRR = 19.44%

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for the NPV.
□ You use the IRR function:
■ You first enter your range of cash flows, beginning
with the initial cash flow.
■ You can enter a guess, but it is not necessary.
■ The default format is a whole percent – you will
normally want to increase the decimal places to at
least two.
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5.5 Problems with IRR
❑ Multiple IRRs
❑ The Scale Problem

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Mutually Exclusive vs. Independent
□ Mutually Exclusive Projects: only ONE of several
potential projects can be chosen, e.g., acquiring an
accounting system.
■ RANK all alternatives, and select the best one.

## □ Independent Projects: accepting or rejecting one

project does not affect the decision of the other
projects.
■ Must exceed a MINIMUM acceptance criteria

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Multiple IRRs
There are two IRRs for this project:
\$200 \$800 Which one should
we use?
0 1 2 3
-\$200 - \$800

100% = IRR2

0% = IRR1

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Modified IRR
□ Calculate the net present value of all cash
outflows using the borrowing rate.
□ Calculate the net future value of all cash
inflows using the investing rate.
□ Find the rate of return that equates these
values.
□ Benefits: single answer and specific rates for
borrowing and reinvestment

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The Scale Problem
Would you rather make 100% or 50% on your
investments?
What if the 100% return is on a \$1
investment, while the 50% return is on a
\$1,000 investment?

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NPV versus IRR
□ NPV and IRR will generally give the same
decision.
□ Exceptions:
■ Non-conventional cash flows – cash flow signs
change more than once
■ Mutually exclusive projects
□ One project must be selected so the ranking is needed

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5.6 The Profitability Index (PI)

## □ Minimum Acceptance Criteria:

■ Accept if PI > 1

□ Ranking Criteria:
■ Select alternative with highest PI

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The Profitability Index
■ Scale problem
■ The NPV is compared to the initial investment so
it is easy to decide

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5.7 The Practice of Capital Budgeting
□ Varies by industry:
■ Some firms may use payback, while others choose
an alternative approach.
□ The most frequently used technique for large
corporations is either IRR or NPV.

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Example of Investment Rules
Compute the IRR, NPV, PI, and payback period
for the following two projects. Assume the
required return is 10%.
Year Project A Project B
0 -\$200 -\$150
1 \$200 \$50
2 \$800 \$100
3 -\$800 \$150
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Example of Investment Rules
Project A Project B
CF0 -\$200.00 -\$150.00
PV0 of CF1-3 \$241.92 \$240.80

## NPV = \$41.92 \$90.80

IRR = 0%, 100% 36.19%
PI = 1.2096 1.6053

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Example of Investment Rules
Payback Period:
Project A Project B
Time CF Cum. CF CF Cum. CF
0 -200 -200 -150 -150
1 200 0 50 -100
2 800 800 100 0
3 -800 0 150 150

## Payback period for project B = 2 years.

Payback period for project A = 1 or 3 years?
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Summary – Discounted Cash Flow
□ Net present value
■ Difference between present value of the future cash flows and cost
■ Accept the project if the NPV is positive
■ Has no serious problems
■ Preferred decision criterion
□ Internal rate of return
■ Discount rate that makes NPV = 0
■ Take the project if the IRR is greater than the required return
■ Same decision as NPV with conventional cash flows and independent project
■ IRR is unreliable with non-conventional cash flows or mutually exclusive
projects
□ Profitability Index
■ Benefit-cost ratio
■ Take investment if PI > 1
■ Cannot be used to rank mutually exclusive projects → scale problem

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Summary – Payback Criteria
□ Payback period
■ Length of time until initial investment is recovered
■ Take the project if it pays back in some specified period
■ Does not account for time value of money, and there is an
arbitrary cutoff period
□ Discounted payback period
■ Length of time until initial investment is recovered on a
discounted basis
■ Take the project if it pays back in some specified period
■ There is an arbitrary cutoff period

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Quick Quiz
□ Consider an investment that costs \$100,000 and has a
cash inflow of \$25,000 every year for 5 years. The
required return is 9%, and payback cutoff is 4 years.
■ What is the payback period?
■ What is the discounted payback period?
■ What is the NPV?
■ What is the IRR?
■ Should we accept the project?
□ What method should be the primary decision rule?
□ When is the IRR rule unreliable?

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Chapter 6
Making Capital Investment Decisions

Key Concepts and Skills
□ Understand how to determine the relevant cash
flows for various types of capital investments
□ Be able to compute depreciation expense for
tax purposes
□ Incorporate inflation into capital budgeting
□ Understand the various methods for computing
operating cash flow

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6.1 Incremental Cash Flows
□ Cash flows matter—not accounting earnings.
□ Sunk costs do not matter.
□ Incremental cash flows matter.
□ Opportunity costs matter.
□ Side effects like cannibalism and erosion
matter.
□ Taxes matter: we want incremental after-tax
cash flows.
□ Inflation matters. 6-31
Cash Flows—Not Accounting Income
□ Consider depreciation expense.
■ You never write a check made out to
“depreciation.”
□ Much of the work in evaluating a project
lies in taking accounting numbers and
generating cash flows.

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Incremental Cash Flows
□ Sunk costs are not relevant
■ Just because “we have come this far” does not
mean that we should continue to throw good
□ Opportunity costs do matter. Just because a
project has a positive NPV, that does not mean
that it should also have automatic acceptance.
Specifically, if another project with a higher
NPV would have to be passed up, then we
should not proceed. 6-33
Incremental Cash Flows
□ Side effects matter.
■ Erosion is a “bad” thing. If our new product
causes existing customers to demand less of
our current products, we need to recognize
that.
■ If, however, synergies result that create
increased demand of existing products, we
also need to recognize that.

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Estimating Cash Flows
□ Cash Flow from Operations
■ Recall that:
OCF = EBIT – Taxes + Depreciation
□ Net Capital Spending
■ Do not forget salvage value (after tax, of course).
□ Changes in Net Working Capital
■ Recall that when the project winds down, we enjoy
a return of net working capital.

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6.4 Other Methods for Computing OCF
□ Bottom-Up Approach
■ Works only when there is no interest expense
■ OCF = NI + depreciation
□ Top-Down Approach
■ OCF = Sales – Costs – Taxes
■ Do not subtract non-cash deductions
□ Tax Shield Approach
■ OCF = (Sales – Costs)(1 – T) + Depreciation*T

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Investments of Unequal Lives
□ There are times when application of the NPV
rule can lead to the wrong decision. Consider a
factory that must have an air cleaner that is
mandated by law. There are two choices:
■ The “Cadillac cleaner” costs \$4,000 today, has
annual operating costs of \$100, and lasts 10 years.
■ The “Cheapskate cleaner” costs \$1,000 today, has
annual operating costs of \$500, and lasts 5 years.
□ Assuming a 10% discount rate, which one
should we choose?
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Investments of Unequal Lives
Cadillac Air Cleaner Cheapskate Air Cleaner

F1 10 F1 5

I 10 I 10

## NPV –4,614.46 NPV –2,895.39

At first glance, the Cheapskate cleaner has a higher NPV.
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Investments of Unequal Lives
□ This overlooks the fact that the Cadillac
cleaner lasts twice as long.
□ When we incorporate the difference in
lives, the Cadillac cleaner is actually
cheaper (i.e., has a higher NPV).

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Equivalent Annual Cost (EAC)
□ The EAC is the value of the level payment
annuity that has the same PV as our original set
of cash flows.
■ For example, the EAC for the Cadillac air cleaner is
\$750.98.
■ The EAC for the Cheapskate air cleaner is \$763.80,
thus we should reject it.

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CF0 –4,000 N 10

## CF1 –100 I/Y 10

F1 10 PV –4,614.46

I 10 PMT 750.98

NPV –4,614.46 FV

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Cheapskate EAC with a Calculator

CF0 –1,000 N 5

## CF1 –500 I/Y 10

F1 5 PV -2,895.39

I 10 PMT 763.80

NPV –2,895.39 FV

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