Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2003 (Revised October 2006)

Globalizing the Cost of Capital and Capital Budgeting at AES

by Mihir A. Desai and Douglas Kurt Schillinger

Abstract

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. To obtain executable spreadsheets (courseware), please contact our customer service department at custserv@hbsp.harvard.edu.

Keywords: International Finance; Risk Management; Globalized Firms and Management; Cost of Capital; Valuation; Emerging Markets; Foreign Direct Investment; Capital Budgeting; Energy Industry; South America;

Citation:

Desai, Mihir A., and Douglas Kurt Schillinger. "Globalizing the Cost of Capital and Capital Budgeting at AES." Harvard Business School Case 204-109, December 2003. (Revised October 2006.)