ValuAdder Business Valuation Blog

Business valuation tips, updates and advice. Pick up a few suggestions on how to value a business. Feel free to browse the contents or share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

Even if you reside in the USA or Canada, your business valuation projects may require that you value a business outside of North America. One question is whether the valuation approaches and methods are affected by where the business is located.

The short answer is that it does not matter where the business is currently located. As long as you use professionally accepted business valuation methods, you can value a company in the same way regardless of where it is currently based.

This is in sharp contrast to the real estate appraisal. Where a property is located can make a major difference to such key valuation parameters as the capitalization rates. The reason is that a real property cannot be separated from its geographic location.

Businesses can locate operations anywhere

Business differ from real property in a number of important ways. First, businesses can easily relocate operations to a different geography. In addition, as companies grow they tend to create presence in a number of locations.

What this means is that business location is seen as a value factor to the extent that it allows the company to reach its intended market. In this sense the business competes for desirable locations much the same as it does for capital, skilled workforce, a seasoned management team, favorable distribution and supplier agreements. Location preference is not a factor that affects business value in and of itself.

Same business valuation methods apply

Hence you can use the same business valuation methods to value a business located anywhere. Such methods as the multiple of discretionary earnings, let you account for the business location as one of the key value creating factors. But the actual geography of the business operations is not at issue here. What matters is how valuable the location is in helping the company achieve its financial goals.

In this sense a location in, say, Perth Australia may be more valuable to a company than a site in downtown New York even if the owners prefer New York for personal reasons. If you are valuing an international operation with many sites across the world, then each location is assumed to contribute to the company’s financial performance. So you focus on valuing the firm based on its earning power and risk assessment instead of the geographic location of its operations.

This comes out very clearly when you look at how the discount and capitalization rates are calculated using the build-up model. Note the conspicuous absence of location in the elements that make up the discount rate. What counts for the investors is how well the company does financially.

In other words, the investors assume that management has chosen the right locations to maximize the returns for the shareholders. Beyond this the investors do not expect additional returns just because the company has selected a specific geography to establish its presence.

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