1

BUS9040M: Decision Analysis for Managers

Assignment 4: Case Study Analysis – AMECO Relocation Decision Problem

Introduction to the case study

This case study is based on a real case; of course, anonymized for obvious reasons. The case study

considers the problem of Agricultural Machinery Exporters Company (AMECO), a company

considering relocating its manufacturing facilities from the UK to an overseas country. In making its

decision, the company needs to take into account a number of political risks that it will face if it decides

to go ahead with the relocation. The decision problem is made complex by the large number of

combinations of possible events that can occur and the challenges that arise from the need to

structure the problem in a way which makes analysis of the problem tractable. Note that all of the

monetary values presented in the case have already been expressed as present values to avoid the

additional complication of applying discounted cash flow analysis to the data. Carefully read the case

study and answer the question that follow.

AMECO Relocation Decision Problem

Agricultural Machinery Exporters Company (AMECO), which has its headquarters in the UK, is

considering opening a manufacturing plant in an overseas country and transferring much of its current

UK-based production to the new plant. After extensive data collection and visits by managers to a

number of possible countries, Almeria has been identified as the most promising country for a new

plant. A site near the capital, Lasia, appears to be highly suitable and a new state-of-the art

manufacturing facility could be constructed there very quickly.

The decision on whether to go ahead with the move to Almeria will be based on the level of monetary

savings in production costs that it is hoped would be generated over the next 10 years by opening a

plant there. However, there are a number of risks associated with these savings and, for simplicity,

the level of savings is categorised as either high, medium or low. If a move to Almeria does go ahead,

AMECO will review the success of its investment after the first five years and will have the option of

withdrawing from that country and returning operations to the UK if this appears to be appropriate.

Almeria has a relatively new democracy which was created following the overthrow of a military

dictatorship that had ruled the country for nearly thirty years. However, there is considerable poverty

and unemployment rates have recently been as high as 38%. The current government is therefore

keen to attract foreign investors, but it only has a narrow majority in the country’s parliament. Despite

the efforts of the government, widespread corruption has persisted and Almeria is ranked 5th in the

World league table of corruption. Corruption is partly responsible for the neglect of the country’s road

and rail systems which are now amongst the worst in the region.

If a decision is made to relocate to Almeria there is a risk that a new government will come into power

and nationalize all foreign investments. There is thought to be only a 0.05 probability of this

happening during the first five years, but if it did occur, the loss of assets would cause AMECO to be

worse off by $75 million (in present value terms) compared to the returns that would have been

2

generated by continuing manufacturing in the UK. Nationalization would also cause AMECO’s

association with the country to end immediately. There is also an estimated 0.3 probability that within

the next five years, restrictions will be imposed by the government on the convertibility of local

currency into foreign currency. This would reduce savings by an estimated $43 million (nationalization

and currency restrictions can be assumed to be mutually exclusive events).

Insurance can be purchased to cover both of these political risks for the first five years of operations

by paying a total premium which has a present value of $16 million. (Note that the insurance can only

be purchased at the start of the five years). If the company does purchase political risk insurance and

nationalization occurs in the first five years then the insurance will only cover the loss of assets. It is

expected that any savings generated before nationalization would be canceled out by the costs of

relocation and so would have present value of $0. If nationalization does not take place it is thought

that there is a 0.6 probability that in the first five years the investment would generate high savings

having an estimated present value of $85 million. There is also an estimated 0.25 probability that

medium savings, with a present value $48 million, would be earned in the first five years and a 0.15

probability these savings will be low and only amount to $5 million. If no political insurance has been

purchased, currency restrictions would reduce these savings by the estimated amount given above.

At the end of the first five years the company would have to decide whether to continue to operate

the plant in Almeria for another five years or whether to transfer operations back to the UK. However,

this decision will only be considered if the savings in the first five years have been low. If a decision

to withdraw is made then the plant will be sold for a return with an estimated present value of $10

million. If AMECO decide to continue operations in Almeria for a further five years the risk of

nationalization during this period is estimated to be 0.15. However, the risk of restrictions on the

convertibility of local currency is estimated to be the same as that in the first five years.

The total insurance premium to cover these risks for the second five years would have a present value

of $12.8 million. If insurance is purchased and nationalization occurs in the second five years then it is

assumed that gross savings made before nationalization will again be cancelled out by the costs arising

from the disruption. For simplicity, the present values of other costs and savings occurring under each

set of conditions in the second five years are assumed to be the same as those in the first 5 years, with

a 20% reduction to take into account the time value of money. However, it is thought that the

probabilities of high, medium and low returns in the second five year period will be dependent on the

level of returns achieved in the first five years as shown in the table below.

Second five years

High | Medium | Low | ||

High | 0.60 | 0.30 | 0.10 | |

First five years | Medium | 0.10 | 0.80 | 0.10 |

Low | 0.03 | 0.07 | 0.90 |

3

For example, the table shows that if savings in the first five years have been high then there is a 0.60

probability that high savings will be maintained in the next five years, a 0.3 probability that only

medium savings will be generated and a 0.10 probability that savings will be low. The other two rows

can be interpreted in a similar manner. It can be assumed that if the company stays in Almeria for ten

years, it will sell the plant at the end of this period and hence generate extra returns with a present

value of $6 million.

Question (approximately 500 words in total, excluding decision tree diagram)

Using decision tree analysis, structure the decision problem faced by AMECO and recommend the

alternative or strategy that the company should pursue to maximize expected savings. Explain/justify

your recommendations.

Guidance notes:

• Present your decision tree diagrams, clearly showing all probabilities and net values at the end of

the branches

• Follow the conventions of constructing decision trees, such as the basic shapes distinguishing

decision nodes from chance nodes

• Explain/justify your recommendations

More guidance notes on applying decision tree analysis on the AMECO decision problem A decision tree model can be used to analyze this decision. Because of the size of the problem, it is suggested that you break down the decision trees into four sub-trees as follows: Decision Tree 1: Depicts the decision that face the company in planning for the first 5 years of potential operation in Almeria Decision Tree 2: Depicts the decision for second 5 years if savings in the first 5 years are high Decision Tree 3: Depicts the decision for second 5 years if savings in the first 5 years are medium Decision Tree 4: Depicts the decision for second 5 years if savings in the first 5 years are low Decision trees 2, 3 and 4 are best constructed first so that the optimal expected savings that they indicate can be ‘rolled back’ and added to the savings for the first five years in decision tree 1. |