Maritime Investment Strategies with a Portfolio of Real Options

Taylor and Francis
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Maritime Policy and Management, 2007, 34 (5), pp. 441 - 452
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The maritime industry operates in a dynamic global environment subject to a great number of variables. In this context, the investment challenge facing shipowners is correctly to value alternate mutually exclusive investment strategies before proceeding with confidence to commit to a project which will add the greatest value to the firm. To survive in the competitive market environment shipping companies must be flexible. Companies that rely solely on traditional discounted cash flow analysis may be underestimating the true value of their investment by not valuing any embedded real options specifically. To avoid misallocation of resources, the true value of these embedded options (strategies) should be recognised and quantified where possible for inclusion in the capital budgeting process. Using real options analysis, (ROA), as a development of the financial pricing advances of the 1970s, flexibility is valued like a financial option using non-arbitrage and added to the present value of the original strategy to derive the present value of the flexible strategy. The more uncertainty (risk) present, the greater will be the value of the real options. Similarly, the larger the shipowner s portfolio of options (strategies) from which to choose, the greater will be the valuation of the project. Real options give the shipowner the flexibility to exchange one risky income stream associated with one strategy for that of another. The analysis shows that if managers have the flexibility of more than one embedded option (in this paper, a European put associated with a replacement investment and an option on the maximum of two operating strategies, trading or chartering out) then the project will have greater value than if the there was no choice or if it was limited to one or the other strategy.
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