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Case 1: Zip Zap Zoom Car Company
Zip Zap Zoom Company Ltd is into manufacturing cars in the small car (800 cc) segment. It was set up 15 years back and since its establishment it has seen a phenomenal growth in both its market and profitability. Its financial statements are shown in Exhibits 1 and 2 respectively.
The company enjoys the confidence of its shareholders who have been rewarded with growing dividends year after year. Last year, the company had announced 20 per cent dividend, which was the highest in the automobile sector. The company has never defaulted on its loan payments and enjoys a favorable face with its lenders, which include financial institutions, commercial banks and debenture holders.
The competition in the car industry has increased in the past few years and the company foresees further intensification of competition with the entry of several foreign car manufactures many of them being market leaders in their respective countries. The small car segment especially, will witness entry of foreign majors in the near future, with latest technology being offered to the Indian customer. The Zip Zap Zoom’s senior management realizes the need for large scale investment in up gradation of technology and improvement of manufacturing facilities to pre-empt competition.
Whereas on the one hand, the competition in the car industry has been intensifying, on the other hand, there has been a slowdown in the Indian economy, which has not only reduced the demand for cars, but has also led to adoption of price cutting strategies by various car manufactures. The industry indicators predict that the economy is gradually slipping into recession.
Exhibit 1 Balance sheet as at March 31,200 x
(Amount in Rs. Crore)
Source of Funds
Share capital 350
Reserves and surplus 250 600
Debentures (@ 14%) 50
Institutional borrowing (@ 10%) 100
Commercial loans (@ 12%) 250
Total debt 400
Current liabilities 200
Application of Funds
Gross block 1,000
Less : Depreciation 250
Net block 750
Capital WIP 190
Total Fixed Assets 940
Current assets :
Sundry debtors 40
Cash and bank balance 10
Other current assets 10
Total current assets 260
Exhibit 2 Profit and Loss Account for the year ended March 31, 200x
(Amount in Rs. Crore)
Sales revenue (80,000 units x Rs. 2,50,000) 2,000.0
Operating expenditure :
Variable cost :
Raw material and manufacturing expenses 1,300.0
Variable overheads 100.0
Fixed cost :
R & D 20.0
Marketing and advertising 25.0
Total operating expenditure 1,765.0
Operating profits (EBIT) 235.0
Financial expense :
Interest on debentures 7.7
Interest on institutional borrowings 11.0
Interest on commercial loan 33.0 51.7
Earnings before tax (EBT) 183.3
Tax (@ 35%) 64.2
Earnings after tax (EAT) 119.1
Debt redemption (sinking fund obligation)** 40.0
Contribution to reserves and surplus 9.1
* Includes the cost of inventory and work in process (W.P) which is dependent on demand (sales).
** The loans have to be retired in the next ten years and the firm redeems Rs. 40 crore every year.
The company is faced with the problem of deciding how much to invest in up
gradation of its plans and technology. Capital investment up to a maximum of Rs. 100
crore is required. The problem areas are three-fold.
- The company cannot forgo the capital investment as that could lead to reduction in its market share as technological competence in this industry is a must and customers would shift to manufactures providing latest in car technology.
- The company does not want to issue new equity shares and its retained earning are not enough for such a large investment. Thus, the only option is raising debt.
- The company wants to limit its additional debt to a level that it can service without taking undue risks. With the looming recession and uncertain market conditions, the company perceives that additional fixed obligations could become a cause of financial distress, and thus, wants to determine its additional debt capacity to meet the investment requirements.
Mr. Shortsighted, the company’s Finance Manager, is given the task of determining the additional debt that the firm can raise. He thinks that the firm can raise Rs. 100 crore worth debt and service it even in years of recession. The company can raise debt at 15 per cent from a financial institution. While working out the debt capacity. Mr. Shortsighted takes the following assumptions for the recession years.
- A maximum of 10 percent reduction in sales volume will take place.
- A maximum of 6 percent reduction in sales price of cars will take place.
Mr. Shorsighted prepares a projected income statement which is representative of the recession years. While doing so, he determines what he thinks are the “irreducible minimum” expenditures under
recessionary conditions. For him, risk of insolvency is the main concern while designing the capital structure. To support his view, he presents the income statement as shown in Exhibit 3.
Exhibit 3 projected Profit and Loss account
(Amount in Rs. Crore)
Sales revenue (72,000 units x Rs. 2,35,000) 1,692.0
Variable cost :
Raw material and manufacturing expenses 1,170.0
Variable overheads 90.0
Fixed cost :
R & D —
Marketing and advertising 15.0
Total operating expenditure 1,532.5
Financial expenses :
Interest on existing Debentures 7.0
Interest on existing institutional borrowings 10.0
Interest on commercial loan 30.0
Interest on additional debt 15.0 62.0
Tax (@ 35%) 34.1
Debt redemption (sinking fund obligation) 50.0*
Contribution to reserves and surplus 13.4
* Rs. 40 crore (existing debt) + Rs. 10 crore (additional debt)
Assumptions of Mr. Shorsighted
- R & D expenditure can be done away with till the economy picks up.
- Marketing and advertising expenditure can be reduced by 40 per cent.
- Keeping in mind the investor confidence that the company enjoys, he feels that the company can forgo paying dividends in the recession period.
He goes with his worked out statement to the Director Finance, Mr. Arthashatra, and advocates raising Rs. 100 crore of debt to finance the intended capital investment. Mr. Arthashatra does not feel comfortable with the statements and calls for the company’s financial analyst, Mr. Longsighted.
Mr. Longsighted carefully analyses Mr. Shortsighted’s assumptions and points out that insolvency should not be the sole criterion while determining the debt capacity of the firm. He points out the following :
- Apart from debt servicing, there are certain expenditures like those on R & D and marketing that need to be continued to ensure the long-term health of the firm.
- Certain management policies like those relating to dividend payout, send out important signals to the investors. The Zip Zap Zoom’s management has been paying regular dividends and discontinuing this practice (even though just for the recession phase) could raise serious doubts in the investor’s mind about the health of the firm. The firm should pay at least 10 per cent dividend in the recession years.
- Mr. Shortsighted has used the accounting profits to determine the amount available each year for servicing the debt obligations. This does not give the true picture. Net cash inflows should be used to determine the amount available for servicing the debt.
- Net Cash inflows are determined by an interplay of many variables and such a simplistic view should not be taken while determining the cash flows in recession. It is not possible to accurately predict the fall in any of the factors such as sales volume, sales price, marketing expenditure and so on. Probability distribution of variation of each of the factors that affect net cash inflow should be analyzed. From this analysis, the probability distribution of variation in net cash inflow should be analysed (the net cash inflows follow a normal probability distribution). This will give a true picture of how the company’s cash flows will behave in recession conditions.
The management recognizes that the alternative suggested by Mr. Longsighted rests on data, which are complex and require expenditure of time and effort to obtain and interpret. Considering the importance of capital structure design, the Finance Director asks Mr. Longsighted to carry out his analysis. Information on the behaviour of cash flows during the recession periods is taken into account.
The methodology undertaken is as follows :
- Important factors that affect cash flows (especially contraction of cash flows), like sales volume, sales price, raw materials expenditure, and so on, are identified and the analysis is carried out in terms of cash receipts and cash expenditures.
- Each factor’s behaviour (variation behaviour) in adverse conditions in the past is studied and future expectations are combined with past data, to describe limits (maximum favourable), most probable and maximum adverse) for all the factors.
- Once this information is generated for all the factors affecting the cash flows, Mr. Longsighted comes up with a range of estimates of the cash flow in future recession periods based on all possible combinations of the several factors. He also estimates the probability of occurrence of each estimate of cash flow.
Assuming a normal distribution of the expected behaviour, the mean expected
value of net cash inflow in adverse conditions came out to be Rs. 220.27 crore with standard deviation of Rs. 110 crore.
Keeping in mind the looming recession and the uncertainty of the recession behaviour, Mr. Arthashastra feels that the firm should factor a risk of cash inadequacy of around 5 per cent even in the most adverse industry conditions. Thus, the firm should take up only that amount of additional debt that it can service 95 per cent of the times, while maintaining cash adequacy.
To maintain an annual dividend of 10 per cent, an additional Rs. 35 crore has to be kept aside. Hence, the expected available net cash inflow is Rs. 185.27 crore (i.e. Rs. 220.27 – Rs. 35 crore)
Analyse the debt capacity of the company.
CASE – 1 Your Job and Your Passion—You Can Pursue Both!
The 21st century offers many challenges to every one of us. As more firms go global, as more economies interconnect, and as the Web blasts away boundaries to communication, we become more informed citizens. This interconnectedness means that the organizations you work for will require you to develop both general and specialized knowledge—such as speaking multiple languages, using various software applications, or understanding details of financial transactions. You will have to develop general management skills to foster your ability to be self-reliant and thrive in a changing market-place. And here’s the exciting part: As you build both types of knowledge, you may be able to integrate your growing expertise with the causes or activities you care most about. Or, your career adventure may lead you to a new passion.
Former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton are well known for combining their management skills—running a country—with their passion for helping people around the world. Together they have raised funds to assist disaster victims, those with HIV/AIDS, and others in need. Jake Burton turned his love of snow sports into an entire industry when he founded Burton Snowboards. Annie Withey poured her business and marketing knowledge into her two famous business ventures: Smartfood and Annie’s Homegrown. Both products were the result of her passion for healthful foods made from organic ingredients.
As you enter the workforce, you may have no idea where your career path will lead. You may be asking yourself, “How will I fit in?” “Where will I live?” “How much will I earn?” “Where will my business and personal careers evolve as the world continuous to change at such a fast pace?” If you are feeling nervous because you don’t know the answers to these questions yet, relax. A career is a journey, not a single destination. You may have one type of career or several. It is likely you will work for several organisations, or you may run one or more businesses of your own.
As you ask yourself what you want to do and where you want to be, take a few minutes to review the chapter and its main topics. Think about your personality, what you like and dislike, what you know and what you want to learn, what you fear and what you dream. Then try the following exercise.
- Create a three-column chart in which the first column lists nonmanagement skills you have. Are you good at travel? Do you know how to build furniture? Are you a whiz at sports statistics? Are you an innovative cook? Do you play video games for hours? In the second column, list the causes or activities about which you are passionate. These may dovetail with the first list, but they might not.
- Once you have you two columns complete, draw lines between entries that seem compatible. If you are good at building furniture, you might have also listed a concern about families who are homeless. Remember that not all entries will find a match—the idea is to begin finding some connections.
- In the third column, generate a list of firms or organizations you know about that reflect your interests. If you are good at building furniture, you might be interested working for the Habitat for Humanity organization, or you might find yourself gravitating towards a furniture retailer like Ikea or Ethan Allen. You can do further research on organizations via Internet or business publications.
CASE: I Enterprise Builds On People
When most people think of car-rental firms, the names of Hertz and Avis usually come to mind. But in the last few years, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has overtaken both of these industry giants, and today it stands as both the largest and the most profitable business in the car-rental industry. In 2001, for instance, the firm had sales in excess of $6.3 billion and employed over 50,000 people.
Jack Taylor started Enterprise in St. Louis in 1957. Taylor had a unique strategy in mind for Enterprise, and that strategy played a key role in the firm’s initial success. Most car-rental firms like Hertz and Avis base most of their locations in or near airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs. These firms see their customers as business travellers and people who fly for vacation and then need transportation at the end of their flight. But Enterprise went after a different customer. It sought to rent cars to individuals whose own cars are being repaired or who are taking a driving vacation.
The firm got its start by working with insurance companies. A standard feature in many automobile insurance policies is the provision of a rental car when one’s personal car has been in an accident or has been stolen. Firms like Hertz and Avis charge relatively high daily rates because their customers need the convenience of being near an airport and/or they are having their expenses paid by their employer. These rates are often higher than insurance companies are willing to pay, so customers who these firms end up paying part of the rental bills themselves. In addition, their locations are also often inconvenient for people seeking a replacement car while theirs is in the shop.
But Enterprise located stores in downtown and suburban areas, where local residents actually live. The firm also provides local pickup and delivery service in most areas. It also negotiates exclusive contract arrangements with local insurance agents. They get the agent’s referral business while guaranteeing lower rates that are more in line with what insurance covers.
In recent years, Enterprise has started to expand its market base by pursuing a two-pronged growth strategy. First, the firm has started opening airport locations to compete with Hertz and Avis more directly. But their target is still the occasional renter than the frequent business traveller. Second, the firm also began to expand into international markets and today has rental offices in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany.
Another key to Enterprise’s success has been its human resource strategy. The firm targets a certain kind of individual to hire; its preferred new employee is a college graduate from bottom half of graduating class, and preferably one who was an athlete or who was otherwise actively involved in campus social activities. The rationale for this unusual academic standard is actually quite simple. Enterprise managers do not believe that especially high levels of achievements are necessary to perform well in the car-rental industry, but having a college degree nevertheless demonstrates intelligence and motivation. In addition, since interpersonal relations are important to its business, Enterprise wants people who were social directors or high-ranking officers of social organisations such as fraternities or sororities. Athletes are also desirable because of their competitiveness.
Once hired, new employees at Enterprise are often shocked at the performance expectations placed on them by the firm. They generally work long, grueling hours for relatively low pay.
And all Enterprise managers are expected to jump in and help wash or vacuum cars when a rental agency gets backed up. All Enterprise managers must wear coordinated dress shirts and ties and can have facial hair only when “medically necessary”. And women must wear skirts no shorter than two inches above their knees or creased pants.
So what are the incentives for working at Enterprise? For one thing, it’s an unfortunate fact of life that college graduates with low grades often struggle to find work. Thus, a job at Enterprise is still better than no job at all. The firm does not hire outsiders—every position is filled by promoting someone already inside the company. Thus, Enterprise employees know that if they work hard and do their best, they may very well succeed in moving higher up the corporate ladder at a growing and successful firm.
- Would Enterprise’s approach human resource management work in other industries?
- Does Enterprise face any risks from its human resource strategy?
- Would you want to work for Enterprise? Why or why not?
CASE – 1 MANAGING HINDUSTAN UNILEVER STRATEGICALLY
Unilever is one of the world’s oldest multinational companies. Its origin goes back to the 19th century when a group of companies operating independently, produced soaps and margarine. In 1930, the companies merged to form Unilever that diversified into food products in 1940s. Through the next five decades, it emerged as a major fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) multinational operating in several businesses. In 2004, the Unilever 2010 strategic plan was put into action with the mission to ‘bring vitality to life’ and ‘to meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good, and get more out of life’. The corporate strategy is of focusing on bore businesses of food, home care and personal care. Unilever operates in more than 100 countries, has a turnover of € 39.6 billion and net profit of € 3.685 billion in 2006 and derives 41 per cent of its income from the developing and emerging economies around the world. It has 179,000 employees and is a culturally-diverse organisation with its top management coming from 24 nations. Internationalisation is based on the principle of local roots with global scale aimed at becoming a ‘multi-local multinational’.
The genesis of Hindustan Unilever (HUL) in India, goes back to 1888 when Unilever exported Sunlight soap to India. Three Indian, subsidiaries came into existence in the period 1931-1935 that merged to form Hindustan Lever in 1956. Mergers and acquisitions of Lipton (1972), Brooke Bond (1984), Ponds (1986), TOMCO (1993), Lakme (1998) and Modern Foods (2002) have resulted in an organisation that is a conglomerate of several businesses that have been continually restructured over the years.
HUL is one of the largest FMCG company in India with total sales of Rs. 12,295 crore and net profit of 1855crore in 2006. There are over 15000 employees, including more than 1300 managers. The present corporate strategy of HUL is to focus on core businesses. These core businesses are in home and personal care and food. There are 20 different consumer categories in these two businesses. For instance, home and personal care is made up of personal wash, laundry, skin care, hair care, oral care, deodorants, colour cosmetics and ayurvedic personal and health care, while food businesses have tea, coffee, ice creams and processed food brands. Apart from the two product divisions, there are separate departments for specialty exports and new ventures.
Strategic management at HUL is the responsibility of the board of directors headed by a chairman. There are five independent and five whole-time directors. The operational management is looked after by a management committee comprising of Vice Chairman, CEO and managing director and executive directors of the two business divisions and functional areas. The divisions have a lot of autonomy with dedicated assets and resources. A divisional committee having the executive director and heads of functions of sales, commercial and manufacturing looks after the business level decision-making. The functional-level management is the responsibility of the functional head. For instance, a marketing manager has a team of brand managers looking after the individual brands. Besides the decentralised divisional structure, HUL has centralised some functions such as finance, human resource management, research, technology, information technology and corporate and legal affairs.
Unilever globally and HUL nationally, operate in the highly competitive FMCG markets. The consumer markets for FMCG products are finicky: it’s difficult to create customers and much more difficult to retain them. Price is often the central concern in a consumer purchase decision requiring producers to be on continual guard against cost increases. Sales and distribution are critical functions organisationally. HUL operates in such a milieu. It has strong competitors such as the multinationals Procter & Gamble, Nivea or L’Oreal and formidable local companies such as, Amul, Nirma or the Tata
FMCG companies to contend with. Rivals have copied HUL’s strategies and tactics, especially in the area of marketing and distribution. Its innovations such as new style packaging or distribution through women entrepreneurs are much valued but also copied relentlessly, hurting its competitive advantage.
HUL is identified closely with India. There is a ring of truth to its vision statement: ‘to earn the love and respect of India by making a real difference to every Indian’. It has an impeccable record in corporate social responsibility. There is an element of nostalgia associated with brands like Lifebuoy (introduced in 1895) and Dalda (1937) for senior citizens in India. Consequently Indians have always perceived HUL as an Indian company rather than a multinational. HUL has attempted to align its strategies in the past to the special needs of Indian business environment. Be it marketing or human resource management, HUL has experimented with new ideas suited to the local context. For instance, HUL is known for its capabilities in rural marketing, effective distribution systems and human resource development. But this focus on India seems to be changing. This might indicate a change in the strategic posture as well as recognition that Indian markets have matured to the extent that they can be dealt with by the global strategies of Unilever. At the corporate level, it could also be an attempt to leverage global scale while retaining local responsiveness to some extent.
In line with the shift in corporate strategy, the focus of strategic decision-making seems to have moved from the subsidiary to the headquarters. Unilever has formulated a new global realignment under which it will develop brands and streamline product offerings across the world and the subsidiaries will sell the products. Other subtle indications of the shift of decision-making authority could be the appointment of a British CEO after nearly forty years during which there were Indian CEOs, the changed focus on a limited number of international brands rather than a large range of local brands developed over the years and the name-change from Hindustan Lever to Hindustan Unilever.
The shift in the strategic decision-making power from the subsidiary to headquarters could however, prove to be double-edged sword. An example could be of HUL adopting Unilever’s global strategy of focussing on a limited number of products, called the 30 power brands in 2002. That seemed a perfectly sensible strategic decision aimed at focusing managerial attention to a limited set of high-potential products. But one consequence of that was the HUL’s strong position in the niche soap and detergent markets suffering owing to neglect and the competitors were quick to take advantage of the opportunity. Then there are the statistics to deal with: HUL has nearly 80 per cent of sales and 85 per cent of net profits from the home and personal care businesses. Globally, Unilever derives half its revenues from food business. HUL does not have a strong position in the food business in India though the food processing industry remains quite attractive both in terms of local consumption as well as export markets. HUL’s own strategy of offering low-price, competitive products may also suffer at the cost of Unilever’s emphasis on premium priced, high end products sold through modern outlets.
There are some dark clouds on the horizon. HUL’s latest financials are not satisfactory. Net profit is down, sales are sluggish, input costs have been rising and new food products introduced in the market have yet to pick up. All this while, in one market segment after another, a competitor pushes ahead. In a company of such a big size and over-powering presence, these might still be minor events developments in a long history that needs to be taken in stride. But, pessimistically, they could also be pointers to what may come.
- State the strategy of Hindustan Unilever in your own words.
- At what different levels is strategy formulated in HUL?
- Comment on the strategic decision-making at HUL.
- Give your opinion on whether the shift in strategic decision-making from India to Unilever’s headquarters could prove to be advantageous to HUL or not.