Valuation of expansion flexibility in flexible manufacturing system investments using sequential exchange options

Karsak E., Ozogul C.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMS SCIENCE, vol.36, no.5, pp.243-253, 2005 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


In this paper, a valuation approach that modifies traditional discounted cash flow (DCF) methodology is presented to incorporate the option premium of expansion flexibility while evaluating a flexible manufacturing system investment. Expansion flexibility allows for changing the production capacity in response to deviations in demand, while disregarding the assumption that management makes an irrevocable decision based on its future market expectations. Expansion flexibility provides a key strategic advantage by avoiding the large financial commitment at the initial investment stage and enabling investment in a phased manner according to the changes in market conditions. The aim of this paper is to present a thorough valuation methodology that accounts for both the benefits of keeping the option to expand alive and the loss of market share to competing firms if the expansion investment were delayed. In this paper, the value of expansion flexibility is computed using sequential exchange options. The proposed method employs an analytic approximation scheme for valuing American exchange options on dividend-paying assets. A numerical example demonstrates the application of the valuation framework. The options approach that incorporates the expansion flexibility option into the analysis results in a higher value than the standard DCF approach, which ignores the value of the option to expand. We also perform sensitivity analyses to see whether the expansion option increases in value in cases of high uncertainty where management can respond flexibly to new market information, and where the investment analysis ignoring flexibility yields a marginally positive net present value. The results of the proposed valuation framework are presented in comparison with a previous model that ignores the opportunity cost of delaying expansion investment.