ACFI5022 Strategic and Financial Decision Making
plc is a medium-sized manufacturing company, based in the UK, which produces
printer cartridges for the computer industry.
company has been quoted on the stock exchange for 4 years and has no long term
debt, although it does have an overdraft. However, as a result of this its
interest cover is higher than that of competitors. Its return on capital
employed (ROCE), however, is similar to that of other companies within the same
business sector (20% before taxation). The company operates from three small
production facilities, within the UK, which it owns, along with a small fleet
of distribution vehicles, which is also owned.
moment Pronto plc is considering an investment in a new machine (at a cost of
£2,250,000), in order to manufacture a new printer cartridge. This machine
would have a maximum capacity of 180,000 units per annum. The company has
employed a market research agency and the agency has established a link between
demand and the amount that the company can charge to potential retailers. The
agency has suggested two possible sales strategies that could be implemented:
Strategy 1 Strategy 2
Selling price (in current price terms) 12.00 11.50
Sales volume in first year 80,000 95,000
agency has also predicted that with Strategy 1 sales volume would be expected
to increase by 4% per annum and that with Strategy 2 there would be an annual
increase in sales volume of 11% per annum.
market research agency has not yet been paid and Pronto currently owes them
company expects the annual variable cost per cartridge to be £4.50 (in current
terms) when 80,000 units per annum are produced. Upon investigation it is
discovered that for each additional 10,000 units produced in excess of 80,000
units, there will be a reduction in average variable cost per unit of £0.10.
This means that when production is between 90,000 and 99,999 units, the average
unit variable cost would be £4.40, and that between 100,000 and 109,999 the
cost would be £4.30 per unit, and so on.
the operation of the new machine would cause a rise in fixed costs of £165,000
(in current terms) per annum.
anticipated that the machine would have a useful life of 5 years and that upon
investigation of economic factors it appears that inflation is expected to
increase fixed costs at 4% per year and that annual inflation on the selling
price and variable costs could be expected to be 3%. Within the economy as a
whole it is expected that the annual Retail Price Index will be 5% per annum.
regard to financing the new machine the finance executive, Peter Omoteso, is of
the opinion that the money should be raised by a new issue of equity. He is
also aware that the company’s current shareholders require a real rate of
return of about 8½%.
level when the prospective investment is discussed Peter Omoteso says, “I think
that we should estimate the Net Present Value in order to decide whether or not
Vickerstaff, the production director, responds, “Net Present Value? Sounds like
a load of old accounting jargon to me. Why don’t you just calculate the annual
percentage return? Of course I realise that you’d have to make an allowance for
the fact that money received in early years is worth more to us. However, I
must admit that I do like percentages.”
Andrikopoulos, the marketing executive, adds to these two comments, “Aren’t you
both over-complicating the issue? If we know the current ROCE in our industry
why don’t we just see what the ROCE is on this particular project and compare
Sparkes, the Human Resource manager says, “I’m far from being an expert with
numbers so I’ll leave these decisions to you lot. However, I was wondering
whether or not there are any better alternatives than going back to the stock
exchange in order to raise the finance through more shares. Couldn’t we
increase our overdraft or borrow the money?”
comment, Andy English, the sales director, joins in. “Whilst we’re discussing
spending money, isn’t it about time we bought ourselves more luxurious company
cars? My neighbour’s got a lovely car and my family are continuously moaning
about mine. I quite fancy a top of the range Mercedes, or something like that.
After all we have earned a good return recently. In fact, whilst we’re on the
subject, why don’t we make our trips to Spain a bit more bearable when dealing
with those large Spanish customers? Perhaps we could buy an apartment in
Barcelona. We could then use it for business trips and for long weekends and
holidays with our families.”
Omoteso then responds, “Let’s get back to the proposal. I’m not sure how
reliable the future forecasts of cash flows will be. Therefore, I propose to
undertake some meanvariance analysis on the project.”
comment was enough for the non-finance managers at the gathering and the
meeting soon drifted to a halt!
these considerations in mind the board decide to appoint a management
consultant in order to help them with some of their decisions.
as a management consultant you are required to address the following issues:
Determine which of the proposed pricing
strategies would be most attractive to Pronto plc, using the following methods
of capital investment appraisal:
i) Net Present Value ii) Internal rate of Return
iii) Accounting rate
of return, based on average investment
addition, clearly explain the rationale for your answers and explain upon which
methodology you would place most reliance when considering a capital investment
You are not required to take account of taxation.
It would appear to be evident that a decision
such as that faced by Pronto plc is characterised by large elements of risk.
required to briefly discuss the general sources of this risk (10). Furthermore,
you should consider the statement made by Peter Omoteso concerning
Mean-variance analysis. As you realise that the non-financial managers are a
little confused by his statement you decide to prepare an example which will
demonstrate the operation of mean-variance analysis within the context of the
above project. You should also provide a brief discussion of the benefits and
drawbacks of mean-variance analysis as a risk management tool (15)
Advise the management of Pronto plc on the
matters that they should consider when considering the source of finance for
this investment. Your advice should consider both practical factors and those
that may be considered to be a matter of academic debate.
Comment on the views expressed by Andy English,
the sales manager, from the shareholders’ point of view. Discuss whether or not
they are likely to, or need to, take any action.
required to present well-structured answers of no more than 3,000 words in total (excluding calculations).
Assignments will be graded according to the following criteria:
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gif”> Evidence of critical judgement in
selecting, ordering and analysing content in order to present a sound argument.
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gif”> The demonstration and
understanding of relevant concepts and models.
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gif”> The demonstration of insight and
originality in responding to the assignment.
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gif”> The extent and level of research
undertaken and the degree to which this research is appropriately referenced.
the usual University regulations will apply with regard to the late submission
of work and plagiarism.
should NOT be submitted in plastic
folders or files. It should be simply stapled at the top left hand corner.
Hand in date: 11th August 2014
How to succeed in Phil’s assignments!
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> Ultimately this depends on to what extent you
want to achieve a good grade! Those students who put time and diligence into
their assignments are generally rewarded for their efforts.
Important specific points to remember
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> Think about the question and the structure of
your answer – you need a clearly defined structure which addresses the specific
issues of the assignment. Therefore, PLAN your response very carefully before
beginning to write. Think to yourself:
What is the question asking me to do?
Is what I am writing focussed on the question –
is it relevant – or am I just including it because I found it!!?
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> Make sure that you read all articles which are
referred to in the assignment
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> Never write anything in your assignment that
you do not understand
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> Do not use ‘bullet points’ to any great extent
– this tends to preclude analysis and explanation
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> Think about presentation
Contents pageo Page numberso Use short sentenceso Use many short
paragraphs – a new paragraph for each different idea.
Do not use too many headings – this tends to
prevent the flow of the work
Where an assignment is divided into parts 1) 2)
3) etc – answer in that format – do not merge answers – it is impossible for
the assessor to mark these easily.
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> When referencingo NEVER reference to Wikipedia, Investopedia, mbaessays.com,
chaeatsrus.com etc – these websites are all unsubstantiated – the material on
these can be written by anyone – ALWAYS
use academic literature (journal articles, text books etc – these have been
academics – unless you are looking on reliable websites for data and
If you include a quote in “speech marks” you
need to also include the page number from the source as well as the author name
and date – no page numbers if there is no quote
All the references that appear in the script
should appear in your
List – it is not a Bibliographyo The Reference List should be in
alphabetical order by author surname
.0/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image003.gif”> Working Practiceo Discuss with colleagues but type up your work separately.
Never give your work to another student in an
electronic format – you will be guilty of collusion, as well, if they use any
Do not leave your work accessible on a
university computer whilst you are not present
Never share a file where
calculations/spreadsheets are concernedo Keep a back-up of your work
– computer problems are not a reason for an extension
Print the work leaving yourself plenty of time
before submissiono Never sub-contract your work to a
third party – it is generally easy to identify!