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Definition of Project

Project Image 1


An investment opportunity for a company


the purchase, installation, and operation of a capital asset

Related Terms:

Conventional project

A project with a negative initial cash flow (cash outflow), which is expected to be
followed by one or more future positive cash flows (cash inflows).

Independent project

A project whose acceptance or rejection is independent of the acceptance or rejection of
other projects.

independent project

an investment project that has no specific
bearing on any other investment project

Independent Projects

A situation where an increase (or decrease) in the benefits of one
project has no effect on the benefits of another project. Also, a
situation where the acceptance of one project does not preclude
the acceptance of another project.

Make-Work Project

A project, such as digging holes and filling them up again, that has no useful purpose other than to make work.

mutually exclusive projects

a set of proposed capital projects from which one is chosen, causing all the others to be rejected

Project Image 2

mutually exclusive projects

Two or more projects that cannot be pursued simultaneously.

mutually inclusive projects

a set of proposed capital projects that are all related and that must all be chosen if the primary project is chosen

project cost of capital

Minimum acceptable expected rate of return on a project given its risk.

Project Financing

Debt finance, usually non-recourse, provided by financial institutions for the development and construction of a new project.

Project loan certificate (PLC)

A primary program of Ginnie Mae for securitizing FHA-insured and coinsured
multifamily, hospital, and nursing home loans.

Project loan securities

Securities backed by a variety of FHA-insured loan types - primarily multi-family
apartment buildings, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Project loans

Usually FHA-insured and HUD-guaranteed mortgages on multiple-family housing complexes,
nursing homes, hospitals, and other development types.

Project notes (PNs)

project notes are issued by municipalities to finance federally sponsored programs in
urban renewal and housing and are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
project financing A form of asset-based financing in which a firm finances a discrete set of assets on a standalone
projected benefit obligation (PBO) A measure of a pension plan's liability at the calculation date assuming
that the plan is ongoing and will not terminate in the foreseeable future. Related:accumulated benefit obligation.

Projected available balance

The future planned balance of an inventory item,
based on the current balance and adjusted for planned receipts and usage.

Projected maturity date

With CMOs, final payment at the end of the estimated cash flow window.


Future-oriented financial information prepared using assumptions that reflect the entity's planned courses of action for the period.

total expected value (for a project)

the sum of the individual cash flows in a probability distribution multiplied by their related probabilities

Accelerated depreciation

Any depreciation method that produces larger deductions for depreciation in the
early years of a project's life. Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS), which is a depreciation schedule
allowed for tax purposes, is one such example.

accounting rate of return (ARR)

the rate of earnings obtained on the average capital investment over the life of a capital project; computed as average annual profits divided by average investment; not based on cash flow

Accumulated Benefit Obligation (ABO)

An approximate measure of the liability of a plan in the event of a
termination at the date the calculation is performed. Related: projected benefit obligation.

All equity rate

The discount rate that reflects only the business risks of a project and abstracts from the
effects of financing.

Appropriation request

Formal request for funds for capital investment project.

Assets requirements

A common element of a financial plan that describes projected capital spending and the
proposed uses of net working capital.

Average accounting return

The average project earnings after taxes and depreciation divided by the average
book value of the investment during its life.

BAN (Bank anticipation notes)

Notes issued by states and municipalities to obtain interim financing for
projects that will eventually be funded long term through the sale of a bond issue.

Basic IRR rule

Accept the project if IRR is greater than the discount rate; reject the project is lower than the
discount rate.


A process of creating a theoretical spot rate curve , using one yield projection as the basis for
the yield of the next maturity.

Break-even analysis

An analysis of the level of sales at which a project would make zero profit.


A set of interlinked plans that quantitatively describe a company’s projected
future operations.

capital budget

List of planned investment projects.

capital budgeting

a process of evaluating an entity’s proposed
long-range projects or courses of future activity for
the purpose of allocating limited resources to desirable

Capital Market

The market in which savings are made available to those needing funds to undertake investment projects. A financial market in which longer-term (maturity greater than one year) bonds and stocks are traded.

Cash deficiency agreement

An agreement to invest cash in a project to the extent required to cover any cash
deficiency the project may experience.

coefficient of variation

a measure of risk used when the standard deviations for multiple projects are approximately
the same but the expected values are significantly different


Sufficient ability or fitness for ones needs. Possessing the necessary abilities to be qualified to
achieve a certain goal or complete a project.

Completion risk

The risk that a project will not be brought into operation successfully.

Completion undertaking

An undertaking either (1) to complete a project such that it meets certain specified
performance criteria on or before a certain specified date or (2) to repay project debt if the completion test
cannot be met.

cost accounting

a discipline that focuses on techniques or
methods for determining the cost of a project, process, or
thing through direct measurement, arbitrary assignment, or
systematic and rational allocation

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The calculation and comparison of the costs and benefits of a policy or project.

cost-benefit analysis the analytical process of comparing the

relative costs and benefits that result from a specific course
of action (such as providing information or investing in a

Cost company arrangement

Arrangement whereby the shareholders of a project receive output free of
charge but agree to pay all operating and financing charges of the project.

Cost object

An item for which a cost is compiled. For example, this can be a product,
a service, a project, a customer, or an activity.

Cost of capital

The required return for a capital budgeting project.

Crossover rate

The return at which two alternative projects have the same net present value.

Davis-Bacon Act of 1931

A federal Act providing wage protection to nongovernment
workers by requiring businesses engaged in federal construction
projects to pay their employees prevailing wages and fringe benefits.


Acceptance of a capital budgeting project contingent on the acceptance of another project.

design for manufacturability (DFM)

a process that is part of the project management of a new product; concerned with finding optimal solutions to minimizing product failures
and other adversities in the delivery of a new product
to customers

Discounted Cash Flow

Techniques for establishing the relative worth of a future investment by discounting (at a required rate of return) the expected net cash flows from the project.

Discretionary cash flow

Cash flow that is available after the funding of all positive NPV capital investment
projects; it is available for paying cash dividends, repurchasing common stock, retiring debt, and so on.


As the term dividend relates to a corporation's earnings, a dividend is an amount paid per share from a corporation's after tax profits. Depending on the type of share, it may or may not have the right to earn any dividends and corporations may reduce or even suspend dividend payments if they are not doing well. Some dividends are paid in the form of additional shares of the corporation. Dividends paid by Canadian corporations qualify for the dividend tax credit and are taxed at lower rates than other income.
As the term dividend relates to a life insurance policy, it means that if that policy is "participating", the policy owner is entitled to participate in an equitable distribution of the surplus earnings of the insurance company which issued the policy. Surpluses arise primarily from three sources:
1) the difference between anticipated and actual operating expenses,
2) the difference between anticipated and actual claims experience, and
3) interest earned on investments over and above the rate required to maintain policy reserves. Having regard to the source of the surplus, the "dividend" so paid can be considered, in part at least, as a refund of part of the premium paid by the policy owner.
Life insurance policy owners of participating policies usually have four and sometimes five dividend options from which to choose:
1) take the dividend in cash,
2) apply the dividend to reduce current premiums,
3) leave the dividends on deposit with the insurance company to accumulate at interest like a savings plan,
4) use the dividends to purchase paid-up whole life insurance to mature at the same time as the original policy,
5) use the dividends to purchase one year term insurance equal to the guaranteed cash value at the end of the policy year, with any portion of the dividend not required for this purpose being applied under one of the other dividend options.
NOTE: It is suggested here that if you have a participating whole life policy and at the time of purchase received a "dividend projection" of incredible future savings, ask for a current projection. Life insurance company's surpluses are not what they used to be.

Dividend clawback

With respect to a project financing, an arrangement under which the sponsors of a project
agree to contribute as equity any prior dividends received from the project to the extent necessary to cover
any cash deficiencies.

Economic dependence

Exists when the costs and/or revenues of one project depend on those of another.

Economic risk

In project financing, the risk that the project's output will not be salable at a price that will
cover the project's operating and maintenance costs and its debt service requirements.

Equity contribution agreement

An agreement to contribute equity to a project under certain specified

Equivalent annual benefit

The equivalent annual annuity for the net present value of an investment project.

expected capacity

a short-run concept that represents the
anticipated level of capacity to be used by a firm in the
upcoming period, based on projected product demand

Expected future cash flows

projected future cash flows associated with an asset of decision.

Extrapolative statistical models

Models that apply a formula to historical data and project results for a
future period. Such models include the simple linear trend model, the simple exponential model, and the
simple autoregressive model.

Financial planning

The process of evaluating the investing and financing options available to a firm. It
includes attempting to make optimal decisions, projecting the consequences of these decisions for the firm in
the form of a financial plan, and then comparing future performance against that plan.

Fisher rate

the rate of return that equates the present values
of the cash flows of all projects being considered; it is the
rate of indifference

Force majeure risk

The risk that there will be an interruption of operations for a prolonged period after a
project finance project has been completed due to fire, flood, storm, or some other factor beyond the control
of the project's sponsors.

Forward rate

A projection of future interest rates calculated from either the spot rates or the yield curve.

Future-Oriented Financial Information

Information about prospective results of operations, financial position and/or changes in financial position, based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. Future-oriented financial information is presented as either a forecast or a projection.

Growth opportunity

Opportunity to invest in profitable projects.

Hell-or-high-water contract

A contract that obligates a purchaser of a project's output to make cash
payments to the project in all events, even if no product is offered for sale.

hurdle rate

a preestablished rate of return against which
other rates of return are measured; it is usually the cost of
capital rate when used in evaluating capital projects

Hurdle Rate

A pre-determined benchmark rate of return. If the rate of return expected from the project or investment falls below the benchmark, the projected investment will no longer be accepted.

Incremental cash flows

Difference between the firm's cash flows with and without a project.

Incremental internal rate of return

IRR on the incremental investment from choosing a large project
instead of a smaller project.

Intermarket spread swaps

An exchange of one bond for another based on the manager's projection of a
realignment of spreads between sectors of the bond market.

Internal Rate of Return (IRR)

The discount rate that equates the present value of the net cash
inflows with the present value of the net cash outflows
(investments). The IRR measures the profitability (rate of return) of
an investment in a project or security.

internal rate of return (IRR)

the expected or actual rate of
return from a project based on, respectively, the assumed
or actual cash flows; the discount rate at which the net
present value of the cash flows equals zero

internal rate of return (IRR)

Discount rate at which project NPV = 0.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development - IBRD or World Bank

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development makes loans at nearly conventional terms to countries for projects of high
economic priority.

Investment product line (IPML)

The line of required returns for investment projects as a function of beta
(nondiversifiable risk).

judgmental method (of risk adjustment)

an informal method of adjusting for risk that allows the decision maker
to use logic and reason to decide whether a project provides
an acceptable rate of return

matrix structure

an organizational structure in which functional
departments and project teams exist simultaneously
so that the resulting lines of authority resemble a grid

Mortgage Insurance

Commonly sold in the form of reducing term life insurance by lending institutions, this is life insurance with a death benefit reducing to zero over a specific period of time, usually 20 to 25 years. In most instances, the cost of coverage remains level, while the death benefit continues to decline. Re-stated, the cost of this kind of insurance is actually increasing since less death benefit is paid as the outstanding mortgage balance decreases while the cost remains the same. Lending institutions are the most popular sources for this kind of coverage because it is usually sold during the purchase of a new mortgage. The untrained institution mortgage sales person often gives the impression that this is the only place mortgage insurance can be purchased but it is more efficiently purchased at a lower cost and with more flexibility, directly from traditional life insurance companies. No matter where it is purchased, the reducing term insurance death benefit reduces over a set period of years. Most consumers are up-sizing their residences, not down-sizing, so it is likely that more coverage is required as years pass, rather than less coverage.
The cost of mortgage lender's insurance group coverage is based on a blended non-smoker/smoker rate, not having any advantage to either male or female. Mortgage lender's group insurance certificate specifies that it [the lender] is the sole beneficiary entitled to receive the death benefit. Mortgage lender's group insurance is not portable and is not guaranteed. Generally speaking, your coverage is void if you do not occupy the house for a period of time, rent the home, fall into arrears on the mortgage, and there are a few others which vary by institution. If, for example, you sell your home and buy another, your current mortgage insurance coverage ends and you will have to qualify for new coverage when you purchase your next home. Maybe you won't be able to qualify. Not being guaranteed means that it is possible for the lending institution's group insurance carrier to cancel all policy holder's coverages if they are experiencing too many death benefit claims.
Mortgage insurance purchased from a life insurance company, is priced, based on gender, smoking status, health and lifestyle of the purchaser. Once obtained, it is a unilateral contract in your favour, which cannot be cancelled by the insurance company unless you say so or unless you stop paying for it. It pays upon the death of the life insured to any "named beneficiary" you choose, tax free. If, instead of reducing term life insurance, you have purchased enough level or increasing life insurance coverage based on your projection of future need, you can buy as many new homes in the future as you want and you won't have to worry about coverage you might loose by renewing or increasing your mortgage.
It is worth mentioning mortgage creditor protection insurance since it is many times mistakenly referred to simply as mortgage insurance. If a home buyer has a limited amount of down payment towards a substantial home purchase price, he/she may qualify for a high ratio mortgage on a home purchase if a lump sum fee is paid for mortgage creditor protection insurance. The only Canadian mortgage lenders currently known to offer this option through the distribution system of banks and trust companies, are General Electric Capital [GE Capital] and Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation [CMHC]. The lump sum fee is mandatory when the mortgage is more than 75% of the value of the property being purchased. The lump sum fee is usually added onto the mortgage. It's important to realize that the only beneficiary of this type of coverage is the morgage lender, which is the bank or trust company through which the buyer arranged their mortgage. If the buyer for some reason defaults on this kind of high ratio mortgage and the value of the property has dropped since being purchased, the mortgage creditor protection insurance makes certain that the bank or trust company gets paid. However, this is not the end of the story, because whatever the difference is, between the disposition value of the property and whatever sum of unpaid mortgage money is outstanding to either GE Capital or CMHC will be the subject of collection procedures against the defaulting home buyer. Therefore, one should conclude that this kind of insurance offers protection only to the bank or trust company and absolutely no protection to the home buyer.

Multiple rates of return

More than one rate of return from the same project that make the net present value
of the project equal to zero. This situation arises when the IRR method is used for a project in which negative
cash flows follow positive cash flows. For each sign change in the cash flows, there is a rate of return.

Municipal bond

State or local governments offer muni bonds or municipals, as they are called, to pay for
special projects such as highways or sewers. The interest that investors receive is exempt from some income taxes.

Mutually exclusive investment decisions

Investment decisions in which the acceptance of a project
precludes the acceptance of one or more alternative projects.

net present value method

a process that uses the discounted
cash flows of a project to determine whether the
rate of return on that project is equal to, higher than, or
lower than the desired rate of return

net present value (NPV)

the difference between the present values of all cash inflows and outflows for an investment project

Net present value rule

An investment is worth making if it has a positive NPV. projects with negative NPVs
should be rejected.

Net salvage value

The after-tax net cash flow for terminating the project.

Opportunity cost of capital

Expected return that is foregone by investing in a project rather than in
comparable financial securities.

opportunity cost of capital

the highest rate of return that
could be earned by using capital for the most attractive alternative
project(s) available

opportunity cost of capital

Expected rate of return given up by investing in a project.


The length of time it takes to recover the initial cost of a project, without regard to the time value of money.

payback period

the time it takes an investor to recoup an
original investment through cash flows from a project

payback period

Time until cash flows recover the initial investment of the project.

Planning horizon

The length of time a model projects into the future.

Planning, programming and budgeting system (PPBS)

A method of budgeting in which budgets are allocated to projects or programmes rather than to responsibility centres.

postinvestment audit

the process of gathering information
on the actual results of a capital project and comparing
them to the expected results

Postponement option

The option of postponing a project without eliminating the possibility of undertaking it.

preference decision

the second decision made in capital project evaluation in which projects are ranked according to their impact on the achievement of company objectives

Pro forma capital structure analysis

A method of analyzing the impact of alternative capital structure
choices on a firm's credit statistics and reported financial results, especially to determine whether the firm will
be able to use projected tax shield benefits fully.







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