# Calculation of a real option. Making Real Options Really Work

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CFOs tell us that real options overestimate the value of uncertain projects, encouraging companies to overinvest in them.

### Real Option

These reversal strategies for binary options are legitimate, but we believe that abandoning real options as a valuation model is just as bad. How can managers escape this dilemma?

A real option is an economically valuable right to make or else abandon some choice that is available to the managers of a company, often concerning business projects or investment opportunities. Real options differ thus from financial options contracts since they involve real i. Key Takeaways A real option gives a firm's management the right, but not the obligation to undertake certain business opportunities or investments.

In exploring their reservations about real-option analysis as a valuation methodology, trend lines example have come to the conclusion that much of the problem lies in the unspoken assumption that the real-option and DCF valuation methods are mutually exclusive. We believe this assumption is false.

### Real options valuation

Far from being a replacement for discounted cash flow analysis, real options are an essential complement because they allow managers to capture the considerable value of being able to ruthlessly abandon floundering projects before making major investments. There are.

- Income using the Internet
- Types of real options[ edit ] Simple Examples Investment This simple example shows the relevance of the real option to delay investment and wait for further information, and is adapted from "Investment Example".
- Они используются, когда необходимо внести изменения в общий проект; впрочем, в последний раз это делалось очень .
- Но ведь какие-то изменения были, - запротестовал Элвин.
- Making Real Options Really Work

These are not, of course, the only difficulties managers encounter using real options, but they are perhaps the most fundamental sources of error, and the integrated approach we present here explicitly addresses them both.

Integrating Options and Discounted Cash Flow Traditional DCF analysis relies on the straightforward principle that an investment should be funded if the net present value NPV of its future cash flows is positive—in other words, if it will create more value than it will cost. This works well if we are projecting future cash flows from some historical context, and we are fairly certain of future trends, but not when our estimates of future cash flows are based on a myriad of assumptions about what the future may hold.

In such cases, the odds of accurately forecasting cash flows are pretty slim. As a result, all the risks of uncertainty the possibility that actual cash flows may be much lower than forecast are captured in the valuation but none of its rewards the possibility that actual cash flows may be much higher than forecast.

## Real options valuation - Wikipedia

This inherent bias can lead managers to reject highly promising, if uncertain, projects. The challenge, therefore, is to find a way to recapture some of the value lost through the conservative DCF valuation while still protecting against the considerable risks of pursuing highly uncertain projects.

This is where options come in.

The possibility that the project may deliver on the high end of potential forecasts, so hard for DCF analysis to take into consideration, is the primary driver of option value.

Options provide the right but not the obligation to invest in a project. Their value, therefore, is driven by the possibility of achieving a large upside gain combined with the fact that companies can usually abandon their projects before their investment in them has calculation of a real option too much, thus limiting the downside.

One caveat though. It can hardly be stressed enough that a real-options approach can only be used on projects structured somewhat like options—that is, on projects that can be abandoned before you must commit yourself to making major financial outlays if it becomes clear that things will not go well.

### Making Real Options Really Work

It would not apply, for instance, to valuing an opportunity that requires you to sink huge sums into building a new factory before you have the first inkling whether calculation of a real option bet will pay off. In the early stages of an innovative project, the value of the DCF component will be low because of the need to use a high discount rate to adjust for the uncertain nature of future cash flows.

At the same time, the real-option value will most likely be high due to that same uncertainty. To the left of the diagram, uncertainty is high, so the project value, as measured by the vertical axis, is composed largely of option value, and DCF value is low—even, conceivably, negative.

This is the first of two articles which considers how real options can be incorporated into investment appraisal decisions.

Now, uncertainty should reduce over time if it does not, shut down the project! But growing certainty also decreases the option value component of the project.

The greater the uncertainty, the larger the option component and the smaller the discounted cash flow component. Then it will be in the deep-in-the-money zone. But between the flee zone and the deep-in-the-money zone is what we call the option zone, where the contribution of the option component adds meaningfully to TPV.

It is here that traditional DCF valuations usually clash with management intuition, and so it becomes important to compute both the DCF and the option value of a project.

### Investment appraisal and real options

In this example, project A depicted by the solid vertical lines is squarely in the option zone. As project A progresses, uncertainty should be reduced, so the vertical line should move to the right, as escalating certainty increases the DCF component and decreases the option value component. If the DCF valuation is high, the decision is easy—simply proceed, since success in the project seems very certain, and it is likely to pay off handsomely.

If the DCF valuation produces a strongly negative number and all the value comes from the option, then the project should probably be rejected, unless an investment structure can be created that would calculation of a real option managers to learn a great deal about the project quickly and for very little cost.

This rule of thumb may cause companies occasionally to miss profitable investments, but in our experience most large firms have more projects than they can fund or staff.

### Session 21: Introduction to Real Options

So even if the option value is high, why waste time on a project that carries a large calculation of a real option DCF value? It is simply too risky, so move on to something better.

The majority of growth projects, we have found, lie somewhere in the middle. It is here that our framework is particularly useful because the option value can provide logic to support or refute that intuition.

Adjusting for Cost That said, there remain two serious problems with option valuations. First, it is hard to find good proxies for the input variables the model requires.

## Real Option Definition

Financial options use a volatility measure derived from the easily observed historical prices of the underlying assets. But there are almost by definition no historical numbers that managers can use when trying to derive the option value of an innovative project—even to estimate the net present value of the underlying asset, let alone its volatility. Not the least of them is trying to establish a figure for volatility, for which there are often no historical numbers.

Then for each factor, we specify the range of possible values. These ranges whose widths reflect their associated uncertainties are put into a Monte Carlo simulation, from which we extract the means and standard deviations of total profits, total revenues, and total costs. The standard deviations of profits, revenues, and costs are used in the calculation of adjusted volatility described in this article, and this adjusted volatility calculation of a real option then used in the option valuation.