In the late 1990s, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) faced a rude awakening as Congress stipulated that it eliminate its reliance on federal subsidies by 2002. In response, Amtrak drew up a plan for self-sufficiency, the centerpiece of which was a new high-speed passenger service that, it was hoped, would boost revenue enough to make Amtrak self-sufficient by 2002. To run this new service, Amtrak needed to purchase $750 million worth of new locomotives and train sets in 1999. Three alternatives were available for funding the purchase: debt financing, lease financing, or reliance on federal sources. The case opens with Amtrak's CFO instructing her staff in April 1999 to review a leveraged-lease proposal that has just been submitted by BNY Capital Funding LLC. The objectives of the case are to introduce students to financial leases as a financing alternative, explore the lease-versus-buy decision and the conditions under which financial lease arrangements make sense, and exercise skills in the valuation of financial leases.
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University of Virginia Darden School Foundation
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