Lockheed Tri Star Case Write Up

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LOCKHEED TRI STAR CASE STUDY

10/18/2010
Group #8 Case Write-Up

Lockheed Tri Star Case Study

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Although highly regarded by the military, Lockheed sought to move into the lucrative civilian commercial aviation sector and compete with Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Airbus. Lockheed began design and testing in 1966 on their entry, the “Tri Star”, which boasted a range of over 6,000 miles with nearly 400 passengers and speeds of close to 600 mph. They had already invested nearly $900 million in development costs. Carried by state of the art Rolls Royce turbofan engines, the L-1011 was by all accounts, a technological winner and might be the company’s ticket back to solvency.
The summer of 1971 found the once formidable company on the brink of disaster. Despite the nearly a $1 billion in sunk costs, Lockheed was in need of $250 million more to bring the plane to market, but its bankers would not commit without federal loan guarantees. Spokespersons for Lockheed claimed before Congress that the Tri-Star program was economically sound and that their problem was mere liquidity crisis. However, opposition to the guarantee focused on estimated break-even sales – the number of jets that would need to be sold for total revenue to cover all accumulated costs.
This case illustrates the importance of NPV analysis in capital budgeting. We examined the decision to invest in the Tri-Star project by forecasting the cash flow associated with the project for a volume of 210 planes. We also asked what a valid estimate of the NPV of the Tri-Star project at a volume of 210 planes as of 1967 would be. We found this to be -$584 M. This was clearly an unacceptable NPV for capital budgeting on the project. A break-even analysis revealed that the project reached economic break-even with the production of 275 planes at $12.5 M per unit but did not…...

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