Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Fin funda - Real Options and Strategy

SAPM cases are most interesting. Every case session enlightens you so much about the real action in world of finance . Would be discussing the the Real Options Case tomorrow.

Real options is the extension of financial option theory to options on real (nonfinancial) assets. In contrast to the valuation of financial options where decision-making it is a matter of shopping for the best deal on a specified contract the valuation of a real option requires that it be identified and specified..

While the Present Value Calculations and standard Discounted Cash Flow techniques are needed as check on strategic analysis, they can not estimate he option value attached to a new/profitable line of business.

According to Myers

"Strategic planning needs finance. Present value calculations are needed as a check on strategic analysis and vice versa. However, standard discounted cashflow techniques will tend to understate the option value attached to growing profitable lines of business. Corporate finance theory requires extension to deal with real options."
Stewart C. Myers, Sloan School of Management, MIT (1984)

So does the market price real options ? Consider this ..

Lucent. - If you used a traditional analysis based on projections of cashflow from current products, Lucent would be priced at just over $4 per share. Since its spinoff from AT&T, Lucent has been trading far above that amount, often in the range of $70 per share. The difference is the capitalization by the financial markets of Lucent's growth options

Amazon.com. - Company went public before becoming profitable and announced in its IPO prospectus that it would not be profitable in the near future. Amazon.com is also a growth option play. A large part of the company's value is its strategy to make strategic investments today that create options - opportunities to possibly make further investments in the future. Enhancing Amazon's value is Wall Street's perception that the company has the managerial abilities to execute these options.

Cable industry (The case for tomorrow) - Laura Martin of Credit Suisse First Boston has used the real options approach to value cable plant.

Real estate - Emphirical evidence suggests that real estate prices reflect development options and research papers such as Quigg (1993) prove it.

The real options approach has and can thus be been applied to water infrastructure, film , industry, technology sectors like telecom, R&D sectors like Pharma, Biotechnology and capacity critical sectors like Power.

Get the real options FAQ here while I wait for Proff Mohanty to shred the case threadbare with his analysis tomorrow (or today its past 5:00 am already;)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sumantra Ghoshal (1948-2004)

"This is a belief that business and, by implication, both entrepreneurs and managers, are the key engines of both economic and social progress. It is business that creates and distributes most of an economy's wealth, that innovates, trades and raises the living standards of people. So business is and must be a force of good..."
Sumantra Ghoshal (1948-2004)

A tribute to management literature's most prolific and creative writers by the man who succeded him as the dean of Indian School of Business

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Achieving dreams - The story of Dr. V

To gradually make this blog impersonal was a conscious choice. But I really want to share what I felt today after the class and more than that the reason for it.

Am still looking for words - impressed (not good enough), proud (yes, but only partly correct), motivated .(yes indeed), but more than everything else humbled and touched.

Here is this one man who had a dream, a vision - to eradicate needless blindless and with it he had, a dedication to pursue that dream. Something that made Aravind hospital a case study in Harvard Business Review. A business model to serve people but one that is self sustaining and growing. A business model that does not rely of donations. It serves the community and does that from its internal accruings and efficiences. A man who has involved three generations of his family in serving people. I salute you Dr Govindappa Venkataswamy. The man whose name all those mangement professors could not pronounce and just called him Dr V. The man who has done 100,000 successful eye operations with his cripled hands.

I can't show others the video that I saw, the this link -The vision of Dr V covers the facts of the case.

What started as a 40-bed hospital in little-known Theni near Madurai has become a global centre for excellence in eye surgery - the Aravind Eye Hospital. It now boasts of a 5,500-bed setup spread across five hospitals in Theni, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Pondicherry. What's even more amazing is that this fast-growing, sustainable model has been possible despite the fact that two-thirds of the patients at Aravind are treated free of cost.
Someone said this 'success and growth story' is something they should show to all b school grads. Can it help ?. Is it motivating enough when all efforts are going into selling soap or working on excel sheets. This is not something you can teach, it can only come from within.

Thanks a lot Prof Prabhu for sharing this with us.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Of strategy through movies and arbit stuff

One of my favorite courses this term is winding up. Strategic Management or Corporate Strategy and Policy as the gentleman teaching us, Proff Ganesh Prabhu likes to call it. He is really an amazing professor. Learnt a lot about real life companies, analyzing their environment, their strategies and also how to deduce and solve their problems. More than three hour session today and no one is complaining. How can we if he decides to give us a lesson or two in hostile takeover and principles of shareholder wealth maximization with a movie - Other People's Money This review describes this Derry Devito comedy as a business essay. Danny Devito plays the role of short greedy weird Larsen Garfield. The star cast includes Penelope Ann Miller and Gregory Peck. Danny takes over undervalued companies and makes money by liquidating them. His next target is New England Wire and Cable Limited. The company is unlevered and would fetch 2.5 times its share price even if sold as scrap. But the owner ofcourse do not want to loose the company.

That reminded of the just failed takeover attempt by Philip Green Of Marks and Spencers. Three bids which were rejected by the Marks and Spencers Management. The shareprice did fall after te takeover bid failed as this article states, but according to analysts the company gained overall because of the measures that the bid prompted chairman Stuart Ross to adopt. Plan to look for more info and financial data about the case when I get some time. Useful links and contributions are most welcome.....

Anyway in the class discussion the proff said management puts their careers in stake in an organization and hence it is probably not unreasonable on their part to expect something more than ordinary shareholders. He justified the expectation of some extra compensation expected by management in case of takeovers etc and how that would increase efficiency by increasing their stake in the system. Would it? Am not sure actually. If that were the case Enron, Arthur Anderson would not have happened. After all isn't is an accepted and logical conclusion these days that ESOPs more often than not lead to artificial inflating of stocks prices. Wanted to argue/discuss but then it was almost 10 pm and junta looked as if it needed food so gave up the temptation for CP :) ..Peer pressure works...;)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

YourManinIndia.com - For anything you need in India and WTO

YourManinIndia.com - For anything you need in India - A TTK Service A new concept. This site provides services to Indians living and working outside India for what they want to do but could not. Starting from buying,selling , renting real estate to providing legal advice to filing tax returns to taking care of their old/sick parents. The service was covered by BBC today which made me go and check out their website. ET too covered it a few days back. Accomplishments enough for a website that was started just four months back. Entrepreneurship needs creativity indeed.

By the way, more WTO, It seems Brazil, Australia and other developing countries won a big battle which one court ruling that the EU subsidies to sugar farmers were illegal. BBC has been playing the story for last two hours not missing to mention that the ruling is confidential ( hmm ? funny eh?). The Brazilian official too couldn't hide(intentionally displayed ??) his happiness though he said , "Umm Its confidential, we can not talk about it, BUT we are satisfied" ;)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

WTO gets a breather

One day past the deadline of July 30, the world leaders decided to give WTO a extension. The developed countries apparently promised to get rid of agricultural subsidies, the biggest concession so far. So the european union and US have fallen in line.Though the developmnet is being hailed s big step forward for developing and third world countries, do not jump to conclusions - There is a lot of read between the lines. Apparently the agreement does not talk about any numbers or deadlines. Many subsidies have been excluded - the countercyclical subsidies of USA, the rich can still protect their sensitive, and the pooor their special products. The poorest countries on the other hand have been relieved of the tarrif cuts, another dilution in the agenda.

The saving grace - the deadline for Doha round of negotiations has been extended to next year. More time to persuade people, opportunity to talk to an American president who is not immediately burdened by an election an ofcourse people ready to compromise atleast in principle - the rich countries ready to pay a price for developing markets.

Full analysis in this Economist article

Sunday, August 01, 2004

From the playground to the podium

From the playground to the podium
Interesting article this on Presentations.com. It talk about things that men and women can learn from each other. It starts with the old quote, "When a man gets up to speak, people listen, then look. When a woman gets up, people look; then, if they like what they see, they listen." (could help mentioning it here). Anyways it continues with some examples to suggest how gender sterotypes are not completely baseless. There is this to reference to a book by Judy Tengly, "GenderFlex :Men & women speaking each each others language" , which says presentors should customise their approaches to appeal more to the opposite gender in the presentions. (The book of course was controversial - am planning to look for it).

The article says men would be better if they emulate the inclusiveness of female interactions and the give and take of their politics. According to another author, women tend to be better at striking a dialogue and hence draw the audiences in to the presentation.

Men on the other hand have voices that work in their favour. The article refers to something I have seen so very often , the tendency of women to raise their voices into a little girl pitch, which lowrs their credibility.Male voices are definitely more authoritative than women. Men tend to use fewer words while women tend to qualify statements & digress. No wonder men are believed to be decisive. The article furthur talks about how a man tends to downplay his doubts (true true so very true ..) and a woman her certainity.

Last but not the last ...."Good planning separates the women from the girls, the strong from the weak, the confident from the fearful, and the men from the boys." (Phyllis Mindell, How to Say It for Women , Prentice Hall Press, 2001)