Boeing 777 Write Up

In: Business and Management

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Case #16
The Boeing 7E7

Synopsis and Objectives

In 2003, the Boeing Company announced plans to build a new “super-efficient” commercial jet called the “7E7” or “Dreamliner.” This was a “bet the farm” gamble by Boeing, similar in magnitude to its earlier introductions of the 747 and 777 airliners. The technological superiority of the new airframe, as well as the fact that it would penetrate a rapidly growing market segment, were arguments for approval of the project. On the other hand, the current market for commercial airplanes was depressed because of terrorism risks, war, and SARS, a contagious illness that resulted in global travel warnings. Boeing’s board of directors would need to weigh those considerations before granting final approval to proceed with the project.

The task is to evaluate the 7E7 project against a financial standard, the investors’ required returns. The case gives internal rates of return (IRR) for the 7E7 project under base-case and alternative forecasts. We must estimate a weighted-average cost of capital (WACC) for Boeing’s commercial-aircraft business segment in order to evaluate the IRRs. As a result of that analysis, we will identify the key value drivers and distinguish, on a qualitative basis, the key gambles that Boeing is making.

The need to estimate a segment WACC draws out our abilities to critique different estimates of beta and to manipulate the levered-beta formulas. Boeing competes in both the commercial aircraft and the defense business. Thus, deriving the appropriate benchmark WACC for the 7E7 project requires isolating the commercial aircraft component from Boeing’s overall corporate WACC.

Suggested Questions

1. What is an appropriate required rate of return against which to evaluate the prospective IRRs from the Boeing 7E7? a. Please use the capital asset pricing model to estimate the cost…...

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