Nucor case investment analysis
In this team-based assignment, you have been brought in to assess whether Nucor should be the first adopter of a new technology. This requires a $340 million investment in a commercially unproven technology. If successful, Nucor can expand into the flat sheet segment that was previously a segment where only the large integrated steelmakers competed. This assignment requires that you combine qualitative information (e.g., industry and firm insights) with quantitative analysis in Excel (discounted cash flow analysis). I recommend that you assign team leads to each part. The final response requires that you weigh the various pieces of evidence together as a team and conclude with a final recommendation. The Excel cash flow parts contain three worksheets (Nucor thin slab analysis, projected integrated steelmaker modernize, and projected integrated steelmaker unmodernized spreadsheets). You are being asked to apply five complimentary types of analysis to the Nucor case: background analysis (brief industry and internal), cash flow analysis (a template is provided), scenario analysis (i.e., changes within the model), competitive analysis, and real option analysis (i.e., considerations outside the model). Your deliverable should be a memo of up to three single-spaced pages (plus attachments, such as the Excel sheet you used for the analysis). This memo should have five sections based on the numbered instructions below. Be sure to use subheadings, underlining, boldface or similar formatting to communicate your analysis and recommendations clearly and efficiently. NOTE: To encourage a fair distribution of work output, it is important that you specify who the team leads are for the various parts.
In this assignment, you will advise Ken Iverson, Nucor CEO, on whether to adopt SMS’s CSP process. In your memo to him, please address the following issues.
1. Cash Flow Analysis (from your previous assignment)
You already conducted cash flow analysis in your Nucor background analysis and cash flow assignment. Include the results and conclusion of this analysis in your final project.
2. Scenario analysis
Your cash flow analysis relies on a set of assumptions. With the base model available, we could now consider multiple scenarios based on a different set of assumptions. If you change one assumption at a time (i.e., a sensitivity analysis), notice how the NPV, IRR, and Nucor ROA values change. For this part of the analysis, create three scenarios by changing one of the central assumptions. Calculate how your new scenario changes the results for Part 1. Drawing on the case, explain why your scenario is important and whether you consider it likely or not.
3. Competitive analysis
While SMS’s thin-slab technology would offer operating advantages for Nucor (a minimill firm), these advantages are narrowed significantly by the need for Nucor to price its thin-slab products lower than thin-slab products from the integrated mills (i.e., the big competitors) because of the perceived lower quality of minimill steel.
Nucor’s competitors include integrated steelmakers with modernized and unmodernized integrated mills. While estimates vary, let’s assume that 40% of integrated steel capacity was in modernized plants. Exhibit 12B shows that Nucor would have a large cost advantage over unmodernized integrated mills ($225/ton versus $300/ton for Hot Rolled) if it adopted SMS’s technology. However, the cost advantage over modernized mills is much lower. In fact, Nucor might find it difficult to compete head-on with a modern integrated mill that decided to price very aggressively.
This leads to two questions for you to answer.
Based on the “CF analysis-Modernize” and “CF analysis-Unmodernized” Excel worksheets, determine if we should expect the integrated steelmakers to modernize mills that are currently unmodernized. Why or why not? Assume they follow traditional investment criterion (NPV or IRR) rather than Nucor’s ROA.
Given your answer to the previous question, how concerned should Nucor be about competing against integrated steelmakers with modernized mills when it opens its first thin-slab technology mill, if it does so?
Please observe the following assumptions and conventions.
Don’t change any of the figures I have input.
Use 6.45% as the growth rate for the price of steel, not the historical 6.84%
Assume the entire construction cost of modernizing a mill is incurred in 1986
Depreciate the modernization evenly over 25 years, starting when it comes online in 1987. Assume the unmodernized plant has already been fully depreciated.
4. Real options analysis
Consider the following strategic (real) options situations:
Is there benefit to waiting 1-2 years?
Is there benefit to starting the project but then later abandoning the project? In other words, how much of the $340 million investment is redeployable for other uses if we decide to later stop the project?
How should we think about possible growth options (i.e., consideration of plants beyond the first one)? Keep in mind that Ken would ultimately like to build 3-4 plants.
5. Final recommendation
In light of all of the (cash-flow, scenario, competitive, and real options) analysis above, should Nucor adopt the CSP process? Why or why not? Do not just repeat the three conclusions from above. Consider issues that are not covered in the preceding analyses.

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