Real Option Valuation

Profitability and growth are two essential factors for companies. Several factors determine whether they will achieve this. Usually, the decisions that management makes can impact those factors significantly. The decision-making process must ensure that the company benefits from the underlying choice. During this process, real options can be crucial.

What are Real Options?

The real options approach is a technique used in decision-making. This approach uses the financial options theory for tangible assets. In essence, real options provide managers with the right to select between various choices. However, it does not oblige them to do so. With real options, managers focus on maximizing opportunities for profitability and growth.

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Real options can be a critical part of investment appraisals. These options help managers decide the best outcomes for a company. Unlike financial options, which include financial instruments, real options involve tangible assets. Therefore, they apply to most business asset investment opportunities. A critical part of these options is the real option valuation.

What is Real Options Valuation?

Real options valuation involves applying option valuation techniques to investment appraisals. As mentioned, real options include the right to make business decisions. Usually, these decisions consist of expanding, contracting, staging, abandoning, or deferring projects. Real options valuation can help companies make decisions with different outcomes and uncertainty.

Another name used for real option valuation is real option analysis. It involves a technique that prioritizes adaption interventions. Furthermore, it also considers the possibility to adjust them in the future. This process can help companies make decisions while mitigating the risks involved. Companies utilize various techniques within this valuation to achieve optimal results.

How does Real Options Valuation work?

Real options valuation can be significantly beneficial in high-risk decisions. Traditional investment appraisal techniques take a quantitative approach towards valuation. However, real options analysis also focuses on qualitative methods. Similarly, companies can use this approach to evaluate the risks associated with investing in tangible assets. Companies can achieve real options valuation in several ways.

One method to real options valuation is the dynamic programming approach. This approach is similar to the decision-tree analysis. However, it is more complex. With this process, companies can compare the real option valuation to the normal economic calculations. Usually, companies use a cost-benefit analysis within those calculations.

The real option valuation approach can produce two types of results. First, it determines whether it is more beneficial to delay investments to wait for new information. This result only occurs if a project passes a deterministic analysis. The second result involves establishing whether loss-making projects can be profitable in the future.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Real Options Valuation?

Real options valuation can have several advantages. Firstly, it allows companies to analyze the value of flexibility and learning through quantitative analysis. It also provides a structured approach to visualize the concept of adaptive management. Similarly, it can guide the timing of adaption interventions. Real options valuation also allows companies to use qualitative information in decision-making.

However, real option valuation can also have some disadvantages. Implementing this analysis involves costs. For some companies, these costs may exceed the benefits associated with the process. Similarly, real option valuation requires significant volumes of data and resources. This process also leads to subjective valuations, which may not be ideal.


Real options involve the application of financial options theory to tangible assets. Real options valuation uses option valuation techniques for investment appraisals. In most cases, this approach can be crucial in evaluating high-risk decisions. There are several advantages of real options valuation, some of which are mentioned above.

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