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OPIM 5641 - Business Decision Modeling

Spring 2016, University of Connecticut

Practice Problems Module 1 Solution:

(This example comes from page 483 in the course textbook.)

The Big Rig Rental Company, which owns and rents out 50 trucks, is for sale for $350,000. Tom
Grossman, the companys owner, wants you to develop a five-year economic analysis to assist buyers
in evaluating the company.
The current annual rental rate for trucks is $12,000 per year per truck. At this base rate, an average
of 62 percent of the trucks will be rented each year. Tom believes that if the rent were lowered
by $1,200 per truck in a given year, utilization would increase by seven percentage points. He also
believes that this relationship would apply to additional reductions in the base rate. For example,
at a $7,200 rental rate, 90 percent of the trucks would be rented, until the rental rate drops to the
point where 100 percent of the fleet will be rented. This relationship would apply to increases in
the base rate as well. Over the next five years, the base rental rate should remain constant each
At the end of five years, it is assumed that the buyer will resell the business for cash. Tom estimates
that the selling price will be three times the gross revenue in the final year.
The cost of maintaining the fleet ran about $4,800 per truck per year (independent of utilization)
this past year, which includes inspection fees, licenses, and normal maintenance. Big Rig has fixed
office costs of $60,000 per year and paid property taxes of $35,000 per year. Property taxes are
expected to grow at a rate of 3 percent per year, and maintenance costs are expected to grow 9
percent per year due to the age of the fleet. However, office costs are predicted to remain level.
Profits are subject to a 30 percent income tax. The tax is zero if profit is negative.
Cash flow in the final year would include cash from the sale of the business. Because the trucks
have all been fully depreciated, there are no complicated tax effects: Revenue from the sale of the
business will effectively be taxed at the 30 percent rate. Investment profit for the buyer is defined
to be the Net Present Value (NPV) of the annual cash flows, computed at a discount rate of 10
percent. All operating revenues and expenses are in cash. The calculation of NPV includes the
purchase price, incurred at the beginning of year 1, and net income from operations (including the
sale price in year 5) over five years (incurred at the end of the year). There would be no purchases
or sales of trucks during the five years.
The NPV can be calculated via Excels NPV function, or by hand. The calculation is:

Cash Flow in Year t

(1 + Discount Rate)t

Problem 1
In order to begin analyzing the problem, please create an influence chart, using the conventions
described in class, using only and all of the following elements:
Net Present Value: the total value of the investment
Discount Rate: annual discount rate for NPV calculation
Purchase Price: the amount that the company is being purchased for
Selling Price Factor: the amount that the last year revenue will be multiplied by to
calculate the selling price
Selling Price: the amount the company will sell for in five years
Total Income: the annual income amount, before tax
Cash Flow: the final amount of money earned each year after paying taxes
Income Tax: the amount of income tax paid each year
Income Tax Rate: the percentage of total income that is paid in taxes each year
Net Operating Income: the operating revenue minus operating expenses
Operating Expenses: the cost per year to maintain the fleet, pay office expenses, and pay
property taxes
Revenue: the amount of money the company receives from renting out trucks
Rental Rate: the amount that trucks are rented for
Number of Rented Trucks: the number of trucks that are rented per year
Utilization Rate: the fraction of the fleet size that are rented each year
Rental Discount Factor: the amount that the fraction of the fleet size decreases per dollar
increase in rental rate
Incremental Rent Change: the assumed amount of increase/decrease in annual rental
amount that will cause a 7% increase/decrease in truck utilization rate
Incremental Utilization Change: the assumed percent increase/reduction in truck rentals
if annual rental amount changes by $1,200.00
Base Utilization Rate: the assumed percent of truck rentals if the annual rental cost is
Fleet Size: the number of trucks the company owns
Maintenance Expenses: the annual maintenance cost

Maintenance Cost Base: the current maintenance cost per truck per year
Maintenance Cost Growth Rate: the rate at which the maintenance cost is assumed to
increase each year
Office Expenses: the annual office expense incurred
Office Expenses Base: the current office costs
Office Expenses Growth Rate: the rate at which the office expenses are assumed to
increase each year
Property Taxes: the annual property tax paid
Office Expenses Base: the current annual property tax
Office Expenses Growth Rate: the rate at which the property tax rate is assumed to
increase each year
Please be sure to identify the type of each of the elements through the objects that you use to depict
them, by using hexagons for the outcome, rectangles for decisions, upside-down triangles for inputs,
and ovals for auxiliary variables, preferably colored blue, green, purple, and black, respectively. The
outcome should be on the right of the diagram, so that one can read it left to right. The direction
of the arrows should follow the precedence relations required to calculate the elements from one
Solution: See influence chart.pptx

Problem 2
Use your influence chart from the previous problem to create a spreadsheet model, analyzing the
investment decision of buying the company for $350,000.00. What is the base case NPV of the
Solution: The base case NPV is $20,141.20 as can be seen from the Excel file Module 1 Practice Problem - Solution.xlsx

Problem 3
There are many parameters that have been estimated, to assist in making a base case model.
Perhaps the two most important parameters that are estimated are the selling price factor (currently
estimated at 3) and the annual maintenance growth rate (current estimated at 9%). In reality, the
selling price factor can range anywhere from 2 to 4, and the annual maintenance growth rate can
range anywhere from 7% to 11%.
1. Use Excels scenario manager to input base case, pessimistic, and optimistic scenarios for the
NPV, where in the base case everything is set as in the original problem description, in the
pessimistic case the selling price factor is 2 and the annual maintenance growth rate is 11%,
and finally, in the optimistic case the selling price factor is 4 and the annual maintenance
growth rate is 7%. How much do these parameters affect the NPV?
Solution: Refer to sheet 3.1 in Excel file Module 1 - Practice Problem - Solution.xlsx
2. Holding all else equal, what value for the purchase price is the break-even price?
Solution: $370,141.20, as determined through using Goal Seek in Excel.
3. Holding all else equal, what value for the purchase price would ensure an NPV of at least
Solution: $350,141.20, as determined through using Goal Seek in Excel.

Problem 4
You are now interested in investigating how much the eventual purchasers should charge as the
rental rate.
1. Create a table and a chart showing the NPV, setting the minimum rental rate to $10,000 and
the maximum rental rate to $14,000. Use 100 points.
Solution: Refer to sheets 4.1a and 4.1b in Excel file Module 1 - Practice Problem Solution.xlsx
2. The values used for calculating the rental discount factor is also a best guess value. Suppose, instead, that varying 7% in the rental amount may change the incremental rent change
anywhere from $1,000 to $1,400. Create a chart using this range of values together with the
range of values from the previous problem to see the effect of both of these values changing
concurrently. Use 50 points for each axis, and vary the parameters independently.
Solution: Refer to sheets 4.2a and 4.2b in Excel file Module 1 - Practice Problem Solution.xlsx