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Original scientific paper

Impact of Plant Utilization on Irreversible Investment Under Uncertainty with Application to Refinery Investment

Sunday Ewansiha Omosigho orcid id ; Department of Mathematics, University of Benin
Esosa Enoyoze ; Department of Mathematics/ICT, Edo State University
Virtue U. Ekhosuehi orcid id ; Department of Statistics, University of Benin

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Why are some regions preferred when investors consider irreversible investment? This study offers an explanation to this question and suggests improvements that will assist disadvantaged regions improve on their bid for funds. The paper considers irreversible investment under uncertainty when installed capacity utilization is incorporated. We develop a normative model for irreversible investment problem under uncertainty using real options approach. Capacity utilization was not a major consideration by previous authors who assumed that installed capacity would be fully utilized.
Variations in capacity utilization may be attributed to disruption in input supply or infrastructural bottlenecks that limit firms to get their products to customers. This study modifies the geometric Brownian motion for the value of a project to account for capacity utilization in the derivation of irreversible investment decision rule. The proposed model provides a theoretical explanation of how utilization affects irreversible investment decisions. Data on petroleum refinery margins is used to illustrate application of the proposed model to refinery investment. The study reveals that capacity utilization has an inverse effect on the investment trigger, and so, links irreversible investment decisions to plant utilization. We recommend optimal utilization of installed plant capacity for regions seeking funds for irreversible investment.


geometric Brownian motion, irreversible investment, plant capacity utilization, petroleum refinery investment, real options

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