Uncertainty and Investment Choice in a Real-Options Model of the Firm
A firm must consider many factors when adopting an investment policy including, but not limited to the size, scope, and cost of each investment, as well as the firm's financial condition. The multitude of considerations makes optimal decision-making much more complex than is indicated by standard real-option models of investment. This thesis investigates the behaviour of a cash-constrained firm that has access to two distinct investment opportunities. Such a firm must not only choose the timing of each investment, but often it must also choose between investments. When compared with similar one-project models of the past, the introduction of an additional investment opportunity alters the general results in a variety of ways. If one of the projects has a high yield, and therefore a quick payback period, this project can provide benefits over and above its NPV as the cash it generates relaxes future capital constraints for follow-up investment. When the firm is sufficiently constrained, this can lead to an investment policy where high-yield low-NPV projects are implemented instead of lower-yield higher-NPV projects, a direct deviation from the NPV rule. If one of the projects can raise a relatively large proportion of its value as collateral for investment, then the constrained firm will at times accelerate investment in this project in order to free up cash reserves for the other opportunity. In single-project models, when the firm is able to invest in a low NPV project, the value of additional cash is low. This is because the project will be delayed regardless of the level of cash. However, when the firm has a second investment opportunity, if one project has a low NPV and the other a high NPV then additional cash is beneficial to the firm. The two-project model also provides insights into how resources should be allocated if the constrained firm decides to split and operate the projects as separate firms. When cash is low, more resources should go to the spin-off with the high NPV project in order to give it the best chance of being initiated. However, when cash is high, disproportionately more resources should go to the spin-off with the lower NPV project as investment in the higher NPV project is likely to occur without the help of additional resources.