Globalizing the Cost of Capital and Capital Budgeting at AES
Mihir A. Desai
Harvard Business School - Finance Unit; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
HBS Publishing Case No.: 9-204-109; Teaching Note No.: 5-206-080
With electricity generating businesses around the world, AES Corp. is seeking a methodology for calculating the cost of capital for its various businesses and potential projects. In the past, AES used the same cost of capital for all of its capital budgeting, but the company's international expansion has raised questions about this approach and whether a single cost of capital adequately accounts for the different risks AES faces in its diverse businesses and diverse environments. The company recently suffered heavy losses from currency devaluations in South America and regulatory changes in other countries. The director of the corporate planning group is developing a methodology for taking account of different country and project risks, and the case allows students to use this methodology to calculate the cost of capital for 15 different projects around the world. Students must consider how a global firm can account for differing risks in evaluating its international operations and in investing abroad.
Date posted: August 18, 2006
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