Calculating Free Cash Flow and Project Valuation
It’s been two months since you took a position as an assistant financial analyst at Caledonia Products. Although your boss has been pleased with your work, he is still a bit hesitant about unleashing you without supervision. Your next assignment involves both the calculation of the cash flows associated with a new investment under consideration and the evaluation of several mutually exclusive projects. Given your lack of tenure at Caledonia, you have been asked not only to provide a recommendation, but also to respond to a number of questions aimed at judging your understanding of the capital-budgeting process. The memorandum you received outlining your assignment follows:
To: The Assistant Financial Analyst
From: Mr. V. Morrison, CEO, Caledonia Products
Re: Cash Flow Analysis and Capital Rationing
We are considering the introduction of a new product. Currently we are in the 34% tax bracket with a 15% discount rate. This project is expected to last five years and then, because this is somewhat of a fad project, it will be terminated. The following information describes the new project:
Cost of new plant and equipment: $ 7,900,000
Shipping and installation costs: $ 100,000
Year Units Sold
Sales price per unit: $300/unit in years 1–4 and $260/unit in year 5.
Variable cost per unit: $180/unit
Annual fixed costs: $200,000 per year
Working capital requirements: There will be an initial working capital requirement of $100,000 just to get production started. For each year, the total investment in net working capital will be equal to 10% of the dollar value of sales for that year. Thus, the investment in working capital will increase during years 1 through 3, then decrease in year 4. Finally, all working capital is liquidated at the termination of the project at the end of year 5.
Depreciation method: Straight-line over 5 years assuming the plant and equipment have no salvage value after 5 years.
From the Mini Case on page 329-330, parts "a" to "d," summarize your analysis in a concise management statement not to exceed a total of 1,200 words. For parts "e" to "k," use formulas to calculate the ratios and format the cells to insert a comma if there is more than three numbers. Round to the nearest whole number. Clearly label your analysis and your conclusions in not more than 500 words.
a. Should Caledonia focus on cash flows or accounting profits in making its capital-budgeting decisions? Should the company be interested in incremental cash flows, incremental profits, total free cash flows, or total profits?
b. How does depreciation affect free cash flows?
c. How do sunk costs affect the determination of cash flows?
d. What is the project’s initial outlay?
e. What are the differential cash flows over the project’s life?
f. What is the terminal cash flow?
g. Draw a cash flow diagram for this project.
h. What is its net present value?
i. What is its internal rate of return?
j. Should the project be accepted? Why or why not?
k. In capital budgeting, risk can be measured from three perspectives. What are those three measures of a project.
l. According to the CAPM, which measurement of a project’s risk is relevant? What complications does reality introduce into the CAPM view of risk, and what does that mean for our view of the relevant measure of a project’s risk?
m. Explain how simulation works. What is the value in using a simulation approach?
n. What is sensitivity analysis and what is its purpose?