# Corporate Finance

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Corporate Finance ­FIN 622
VU
Lesson 11
METHODS OF PROJECT EVALUATIONS
The following topics will be discussed in this hand out.
Methods of Project evaluations:
Payback Period Method
Discounted Payback Period
Accounting Rate of Return ARR
Profitability Index PI
THE PAYBACK PERIOD (PP)
The time it takes the cash inflows from a capital investment project to equal the cash outflows, usually
expressed in years'. When deciding between two or more competing projects, the usual decision is to accept
the one with the shortest payback.
Payback is often used as a "first screening method". By this, we mean that when a capital investment project
is being considered, the first question to ask is: 'How long will it take to pay back its cost?' The company
might have a target payback, and so it would reject a capital project unless its payback period was less than a
certain number of years.
Example 1:
Years
0
1
2
3
4
5
Project A 1,000,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000 250,000
For a project with equal annual receipts:
= 4 years
Example 2:
Years
0
1
2
3
4
Project B - 10,000 5,000 2,500 4,000 1,000
Payback period lies between year 2 and year 3. Sum of money recovered by the end of the second year
= \$7,500, i.e. (\$5,000 + \$2,500)
Sum of money to be recovered by end of 3rd year
= \$10,000 - \$7,500
= \$2,500
= 2.625 years
* It ignores the timing of cash flows within the payback period, the cash flows after the end of payback
period and therefore the total project return.
* It ignores the time value of money. This means that it does not take into account the fact that \$1 today is
worth more than \$1 in one year's time. An investor who has \$1 today can either consume it immediately or
alternatively can invest it at the prevailing interest rate, say 30%, to get a return of \$1.30 in a year's time.
* It is unable to distinguish between projects with the same payback period.
34
Corporate Finance ­FIN 622
VU
* It may lead to excessive investment in short-term projects.
·  Payback can be important: long payback means capital tied up and high investment risk. The method
also has the advantage that it involves a quick, simple calculation and an easily understood concept.
DISCOUNTED PAYBACK PERIOD:
Length of time required to recover the initial cash outflow from the discounted future cash inflows. This is the
approach where the present values of cash inflows are cumulated until they equal the initial investment. For
example, assume a machine purchased for \$5000 yields cash inflows of \$5000, \$4000, and \$4000. The cost
of capital is 10%. Then we have
The payback period (without discounting the future cash flows) is exactly 1 year. However, the discounted
payback period is a little over 1 year because the first year discounted cash flow of \$4545 is not enough to
cover the initial investment of \$5000. The discounted payback period is 1.14 years (1 year + (\$5000 -
\$4545)/\$3304 = 1 year + .14 year).
THE ACCOUNTING RATE OF RETURN - (ARR):
The ARR method also called the return on capital employed (ROCE) or the return on investment (ROI)
method of appraising a capital project is to estimate the accounting rate of return that the project should
yield. If it exceeds a target rate of return, the project will be undertaken.
Note that net annual profit excludes depreciation.
Example:
A project has an initial outlay of \$1 million and generates net receipts of \$250,000 for 10 years.
Assuming straight-line depreciation of \$100,000 per year:
= 15%
= 30%
* It does not take account of the timing of the profits from an investment.
* It implicitly assumes stable cash receipts over time.
35
Corporate Finance ­FIN 622
VU
* It is based on accounting profits and not cash flows. Accounting profits are subject to a number of
different accounting treatments.
* It is a relative measure rather than an absolute measure and hence takes no account of the size of the
investment.
* It takes no account of the length of the project.
* It ignores the time value of money.
The payback and ARR methods in practice:
Despite the limitations of the payback method, it is the method most widely used in practice. There are a
number of reasons for this:
* It is a particularly useful approach for ranking projects where a firm faces liquidity constraints and requires
fast repayment of investments.
* It is appropriate in situations where risky investments are made in uncertain markets that are subject to
fast design and product changes or where future cash flows are particularly difficult to predict.
* The method is often used in conjunction with NPV or IRR method and acts as a first screening device to
identify projects which are worthy of further investigation.
* It is easily understood by all levels of management.
* It provides an important summary method: how quickly will the initial investment be recouped?
THE PROFITABILITY INDEX ­ PI:
This is also known as benefit-cost ratio. It is a relationship between the PV of all the future cash flows and
the initial investment. This relationship is expressed as a number calculated by dividing the PV of all cash
flows by initial investment.
This is a variant of the NPV method.
Decision rule:
PI > 1; accept the project
PI < 1; reject the project
If NPV = 0, we have:
NPV = PV - Io = 0
PV = Io
Dividing both sides by Io we get:
PI of 1.2 means that the project's profitability is 20%.
Example:
PV of CF Io
PI
Project A 100
50
2.0
Project B 1,500
1,000 1.5
Decision:
Choose option B because it maximizes the firm's profitability by \$1,500.