Westmoreland Energy, Inc.: Power Project At Zhangze, China
Set in 1994, this case concerns a subsidiary of Westmoreland Coal that is considering whether to proceed alone as the international partner and developer of a coal-fired electric power plant in Zhangze, China. The domestic partner, the government's electric power agency, has proposed a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project financing in which Westmoreland Energy (WEI) would receive returns over 20 years and then exit. The internal rate of return on the project appears to exceed the CEO's target rate, though the project developer, Dorothy Hampton, is concerned about a variety of risks and the appropriateness of the target hurdle rate. The tasks for the student are to evaluate the risks, estimate a target rate of return, exercise the valuation model (which is given in the case), and recommend any changes in the deal structure that can help WEI achieve its goals. The objectives of the case are to (1) exercise students' capabilities in analyzing a complex investment-financing transaction from the standpoints of various project participants (the key tasks are risk analysis and valuation), (2) illustrate the financial effects of debt leverage and equity leverage (the focus of attention is on the creation of value and its sources, risk shifting, and wealth transfers), and (3) assess the characteristics and challenges of project financings and development projects in emerging economies.