American Home Products Corporation Essay
1. How much business risk does American Home Products face? How much financial risk would American Home Products face at each of the proposed levels of debt shown in case Exhibit 3? How much potential value, if any can American Home Products create for its shareholders at each of the proposed levels of debt? A combination of business risk and financial risk shows the risk of an organization’s future return on equity. Business risk is related to make a firm’s operation without any debt, whereas financial risk requires that the firm’s common stockholders make a decision to finance it with debt. a) American Home Products has been operating on four main lines of business that are less uncertainty about product demand; for example, one of its business lines is food products because whenever people buy foods. It means that AHP’s business risk is low. As mentioned above, if a firm does its operation activities regularly without leverage, it means that its business risk is not significant high. Thus, ratio of cash to total assets is calculated by following:
According to Figure 1, AHP’s cash was about 23% of total assets, rose constantly since 1978 to 1981, and reached 28.2% in 1981; thus, it has enough cash flow to finance its daily operation. Also, return on assets can show that a firm’s ability to cover its operating cost by generating income. According to the calculation below, American Home Products Corporation’s ROA was stable and approximately 19.2 % in 1981; consequently, AHP earned sufficient amount of income to cover its operating cost. Figure 2 Return on Assets of Amercan Home Products Corporation, 1972-1981 ($ in millions)
Add to these above explanations, Exhibit 1 shows that AHP’s peak annual growth in sales was 14.1% in 1978 and compare to it, annual growth in sales decreased by 5.3% in 1981; as a result, it became disadvantage to AHP because consumers started to interest into competitors’ products. Risk aversion was the most fundamental component of AHP’s culture; consequently, they prefer to acquire or take license of previously developed goods or produce similar products with its competitors rather than to develop new-products. Although it seems to save R&D expenses, acquisition cost or a cost of time response to steal other’s innovation would be still appeared. Thus, AHP should try to improve its sales. b) Financial risk is related to business risk, so we measured NOPAT, ROIC, ROE whose uncertainty future can determine a firm’s business risk in Figure 3. Figure 3 Pro Forma 1981 Results for Alternative Capital Structures ($ in millions except ratios)
Above pro forma illustrates that total debt and financial risk have straight correlation with each other and AHP’s total debt increased, so its financial risk would rise. Then if American Home Products Corporation could not pay its loan and interest by schedule, it would meet the financial risk and the risk of bankruptcy. According to Exhibit 4, AHP used excess cash of 233 million dollars on each of the proposed levels to repurchase stocks and remaining amounts were financed by debt; thus, its common shares outstanding would decreased by 19.8 million shares on 30% dept ratio and 36.6 million shares on 70% debt ratio. It means that equity will goes down, so its return on equity will rise. AHP should consider about financial risk to change the capital structure.
American Home Products Corporation can save taxes to pay by increasing debt. Figure 4 illustrates that its taxes savings can be advantage to AHP if it uses heavier capital structure. Figure 4 Pro Forma 1981 Taxes Savings ($ in millions)
According to Figure 4, if the company’s capital structure is 70% debt to total capital, comparing to 30 % debt to total capital structure, it can save approximately 1.9 times greater money; thus, its shareholders would benefit from it. 2. What capital structure would you recommend as appropriate for AHP? What are the advantages of leveraging this company? The disadvantages? How would leveraging up affect the company’s taxes? How would the capital markets react to a decision by the company to increase the use of debt in its capital structure? Most appropriate capital structure for American Home Products is 30% debt to total capital. Several reasons will explain the reason why this structure gives advantage to AHP. The first, as using 30% debt ratio, the company would be able to be recapitalized; hence, common shares outstanding of 19.8 million can be repurchased. The second, according to Figure 4, AHP would have advantage to save taxes of 37.8 million dollars and its shareholders benefit by getting more values.
Exhibit 2 shows that Warner Lambert company’s debt ratio is approximately 32% and its bond rating is AAA or AA. It means that if AHP uses 30% debt and 70% equity, its bond rating will be same as Warner Lambert; consequently, bond interest to pay will not increase much due to bond rating. Addition to these reasons, AHP would face less risk to compare heavier capital structures. Finally, AHP’s annual growth in sales decreased in 1981 by 2.9% from previous year, so getting debt could be helpful to manage its operation effectively and increase its sales growth. Besides above advantages, using 30% debt and 70% equity capital structure has disadvantages. First of all, if a firm has a loan, it has to be responsible to pay its principle and interest as a schedule; otherwise, it would be reason to bankruptcy; thus, same rule works on case of AHP. In addition to the risk of bankruptcy, if the company’s daily operation requires more investment after recapitalization, getting new loan for it would be more difficult.
In final, using debt can be reason to increase its financial risk, so it has to be more careful to manage its operation. According to Figure 4, leveraging the company by using 30% debt to capital structure would decrease its taxes of 37.8 million dollars to pay. The capital market would react positively to a decision by the company to use of 30% debt in its capital structure. The company had almost no debt and had excess of cash or higher liquidity and Mr. Laborte who was chief executive of the company was near to give his position because of retirement, so most analysts expected the company to change its conservative capital structure. Also, Figure 5 shows the market positive reaction on the stock price. Figure 5 Stock Price of AHP ($ in millions except per share datas and ratios)
According to Figure 5, AHP’s stock price will increase to 31.5. In order to calculate new stock price, we used average price/earnings ratio of both American Home Products Corporation and Warner Lambert Company in Exhibit 2 because exhibit 2 illustrates that while P/E ratio of AHP is 10.6%, 8% for Warner Lambert and unlike Warner Lambert, AHP has less financial risk. All though AHP’s risk will increase after getting leverage and its P/E ratio will decrease, AHP would have better financial position than Warner Lambert, so investors would be interested to buy AHP’s stock rather than stock of Warner Lambert.
3. How might AHP implement a more aggressive capital structure policy? What are the alternative methods for leveraging up? AHP should use heavier capital structure which means that increase to use more debt instead of conservative capital structure; consequently, AHP’s capital structure might be more effective and aggressive. The alternative methods for leveraging up are innovating new products, using better technology, and motivating labor. 4. In view of AHP’s unique corporate culture, what arguments would you advance to persuade Mr. Laporte or his successor to adopt your recommendation?
According to Mr. Laporte, his company works in order to increase shareholders wealth, so as using 30% debt to capital would give possibility to save 37.8 million dollars from taxes; thus, its shareholders would benefit getting higher dividends per share. Even though after using debt, its price/earnings ratio might be decreased, its attraction of investors will be still powerful because of stock price increase. Also, if the company uses more debt to the operation, it will be possible to repurchase common stocks of 19.8 millions of shares from market.
American Home Products Corporation Essay
American Home Product Corporation (AHP), a highly growing American company, has four business lines: prescription drugs, packaged drugs, food products, house wares and household products. Its policies include:
-A tight financial control and maintained an aggressive capital structure policy. – Make money for its stockholders and to maximize profits by minimizing cost. – It has been able to finance internally its growth while paying a very high portion of its earning to its shareholders (60%).
Currently, AHP seems to have no business risk but may face a certain risk in the long run. Based on the ratios shown on the attached sheet, AHP should not worry about business risk since its working capital is very healthy ($1472.8 million) and cash excess $233 million. The high ROA, high profit margin, low current-to-asset ratio and 49.71 collection days show that AHP can generate cash quickly, thus it can maintain current high growth rate. However, it’s decreasing annual sales growth from 14.1% in 1978 to 8.8% in 1981 (exhibit 1) shows that it faces future risk of losing market shares in all its business lines if it does not foresee competition and continues to focus on increasing stockholders’ value.
AHP’s current financial performance is very good since it has high ROE (30.3), high quick ratio (42.68), low debt-to-equity ratio (0.09) and low debt-to-asset ratio (0.01). However, an analysis of different debt ratios shows that if AHP increases debt ratio, it will face a financial risk of increased debt-to-equity and debt-to-asset ratios. In other words, it will face solvency problems in long terms. AHP also face liquidity problems since the quick ratios decrease when the debt ratios increase.
2 The proposed mechanism follows a dual mechanism of leveraging:-
(a) Increase the Debt Equity Ratio.
(b) Buy back the shares. This also results in the following:-
(i) Improves EPS as the amount gets shared by lesser number of shares.
(ii)Improves Price / earnings ratio
(iii) The excess capital gets utilized.
(iv)Sends a +ve signal to the market and share prices likely to increase.
(v) Improves Return on Equity ratio.
The calculations enclosed indicate that the best option in accordance with the company stated policy would be to have Debt-Equity Ratio of 70%. Shareholders’ value increases when debt ratios increase. EPS increases from $3.18 to $3.49. The dividend payout ratio also increases from 0.597 to 0.602. Similarly, the dividend yield from 0.063 to 0.070. It means that the company can increase shareholders’ value by increasing debt ratios.
However the following needs to be considered:-
(i) The valued net worth of the firm which decreases may not convey the correct picture to the investor and thus negating the positive signals of buy back of shares. (ii) The firm has no strategy related to R&D in new products and focuses on me-too products thus constituting a large business risk. (iii) The firm would reduce the cash to debt ratio substantially exposing itself to financial risk. The closest competitor has Debt – Equity Ratio of 30% which if taken as a benchmark gives a conservative method of deciding the proposed leveraging, however this does not maximize the shareholder value, but is in line with the strong conservatism philosophy of the firm. It also gives a better Return on Assets ratio and has a safer Debt to Cash ratio.
Even though AHP has a very good current financial performance, it should change the financial policy to increase debt ratio at a certain level. To meet the goal of increasing shareholders’ value, AHP should not use its excess cash flow to repurchase its stocks because this is only a temporary solution and may generate serious financial problems in the long run. Instead, AHP should use this excess cash to invest in profitable projects to improve its current products and launch new products that meet current market demands. By doing so, AHP can minimize the business risk, prepare itself for competition and increase sales growth.
On the other hands, AHP should increase debt ratio to a certain level that is suitable for its business to increase shareholders’ value. Also it should continue to exercise tight monetary policies as earlier to pay off the debt in a disciplined manner This solution does not bring financial risk to AHP but enable it to minimize business risk. If AHP remains only concerned about how to increase shareholders’ value and ignores market threats, it might lose its business to its competitors.