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Perspectives on capital budgeting in the South African motor manufacturing industry

Suzette Viviers (Department of Business Management, University of Stellenbosch, Matieland, South Africa)
Howard Cohen (Department of Business Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

Meditari Accountancy Research

ISSN: 1022-2529

Article publication date: 1 October 2011




Capital budgeting is a key issue in corporate finance and over time major theoretical developments have been incorporated into the appraisal processes of capital intensive companies. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the capital budgeting practices of a sample of motor manufacturing companies in South Africa and compare the empirical findings to the existing literature in order to establish whether the theoretical aspects are still widely practiced.


Semi‐structured personal interviews were conducted with respondents at eight motor manufacturers in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng provinces of South Africa.


The net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return criteria are the two most popular appraisals methods used in practice. Most respondents used multiple criteria before making substantial capital investments. These findings conform to contemporary capital budgeting theory.

Practical implications

Financial managers should first calculate the discounted payback period of a project before embarking on a more detailed analysis. Once all the data are available, NPV should be used as the primary means of evaluating investments, as this criterion gives the best indication of how much shareholder value the project will add. It is further recommended that more attention be given to “green” considerations in the capital budgeting process.


The paper evaluates the applicability of existing literature on capital budgeting to the practice thereof in a capital intensive industry in South Africa. No similar study has been done previously.



Viviers, S. and Cohen, H. (2011), "Perspectives on capital budgeting in the South African motor manufacturing industry", Meditari Accountancy Research, Vol. 19 No. 1/2, pp. 75-93.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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