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D’Leon Inc. Case Study Essay

D’Leon Incorporated is a small food producer that specializes in high-quality pecan and other nut products sold in the snack-foods market. In 2004, D’Leon’s president, Al Watkins, decided to undertake a major expansion to become more competitive within their market. The following report describes some of the financial effects that this expansion has had on the company.

D’Leon began its expansion by doubling its plant capacity, opening new sales offices, and investing in an expensive advertising campaign. Watkins felt that they had superior products to the competition and that he could charge a premium price for their products to result in increased sales, profits, and stock price. The results, however, were unsatisfactory. Sales were below and costs were above all initial projections. These results have raised questions about the expansion and also caused concern among the Board of Directors and the major shareholders about the future of the company.

Part I of this report analyzes D’Leon’s financial statements from 2004 and 2005. It describes some of the effects of the expansion on the financials of the company and some of the problems that have arisen with their current financial position. Net operating profit decreased, but operating working capital and total operating capital have shown increases. Sales had a considerable increase, but net income decreased. D’Leon’s financials also indicated a decrease in cash flow due to the company spending more cash than they were taking in. These changes are subsequently resulting in decreased stock prices and a deteriorating financial position which is concerning both management and shareholders.

Part II of this report discusses the ratio analysis of D’Leon’s financial statements. It begins by explaining the five major categories of financial ratios: Liquidity, Asset Management, Debt Management, Profitability, and Market Value. While most of the 2005 ratios have shown significant declines and are below industry averages, the 2006 projections look promising for the company and are showing significant increases. Part II continues with a discussion of some of the limitations of financial ratios as comparison tools and concludes with a brief discussion of D’Leon’s credit issues and a summary of the company’s 2006 projections.

It is recommended that D’Leon Inc. conduct in-depth financial research and perform an extensive ratio analysis of their financial position before deciding to undergo any further expansions. Doing this could greatly help the managers in their decision-making and aide in determining the effects of any future expansions on the financial stability of the company.

Sales

In addition to expanding the company, D’Leon’s president, Al Watkins, felt that the company’s products were of a higher quality than the competitions and that he could charge a premium price, resulting in greatly increased sales and profits. Following the expansion, D’Leon did see a sales increase of $2,602,000 , a 75.8% increase over the previous year. Even though the company did experience a sales increase, liabilities such as accounts and notes payable increased, resulting in decreased profits.

Net Operating Profit after Taxes

Net Operating Profit after Taxes (NOPAT) is a company’s after-tax operating profit for all investors, including shareholders and debt holders. NOPAT represents the company’s operating profit that would accrue to shareholders if the company had no debt. Unfortunately, due the increased debt and liabilities associated with the expansion, D’Leon’s NOPAT experienced a significant decrease of 168.8% from $114,257 to -$78,569.

Net Operating Working Capita

lNet Operating Working Capital (NOWC) is a financial metric representing the amount of day-by-day operating liquidity available to a business. NOWC is calculated by subtracting a company’s non-interest bearing current liabilities from their current assets. An increase in working capital indicates that the business has either increased current assets by receiving cash or other current assets, or has decreased current liabilities, by possibly paying off some short-term creditors. As a result of D’Leon’s increased sales from the expansion, the company has experienced an increase in NOWC from $842,400 to $913,042. This is an increase of about 8.4%. This increase is good because it’s a positive indicator that the firm is able to continue its operations and that it has sufficient cash flow to satisfy both maturing short-term debt and upcoming operational expenses.

Total Operating Capital

Total Operating Capital is simply the addition of a company’s net fixed assets to the NOWC. D’Leon’s expansion generated a significant increase in the company’s net fixed assets of almost three times the previous years. This figure added to the NOWC generated a 56.1% increase in total operating capital from $1,187,200 to $1,852,832.

Net Income

Net income, or profit, is the income that a firm has after subtracting costs and expenses from the total revenue. It can be distributed among holders of common stock as a dividend or held by the firm as retained earnings. Once again, however, due to the significant increase in costs and expenses such as notes and accounts payable, D’Leon had a negative net income in 2005. They experienced a decrease of 282.1% from $87,960 to -$160,176.

Cash Flows

Cash flow refers to the amount of cash being received and paid by a business during a defined period of time. The measurement of cash flow can be used to determine and evaluate such things as problems with liquidity and the state or performance of a business. It can also be used to generate project rate-of-returns and to examine income or growth of a business when it is believed that accrual accounting concepts do not represent economic realities. In this report, cash flows will be categorized into three components: net cash flow, operating cash flow, and free cash flow.

•Net cash flow (NCF), the measure of a company’s financial health, equals the cash receipts minus cash payments over a given period of time. It can be considered money that is available for expansion, research and development, or retained as cash reserves. From 2004 to 2005, D’Leon’s net cash flow decreased dramatically by 140.4%. This decrease in funds needed for the expansion is causing great concern with the major shareholders of the company over the future of D’Leon Inc.

•Operating cash flow (OCF) is the cash flow from operating activities. It refers to the amount of cash a company generates from the revenues it brings in minus the costs associated with long-term investment on capital items or investment in securities. The company experienced a 71.2% decrease in OCF from the previous year.

•Free cash flow (FCF) is the cash flow actually available for payment to investors. The value of a company’s operations depends on its expected future free cash flows. This is another cause for concern for D’Leon’s major shareholders because, following the expansion, the FCF decreased dramatically to -$744,201.

Market Value AddedMarket Value Added (MVA) is the difference between the current market value of a firm and the capital contributed by investors. If MVA is positive, the firm has added value. If it is negative, the firm has destroyed value. The expansion of D’Leon has decreased their MVA. This can be seen in that the stock price has decreased over the past year by about 73.5%. In order for MVA to increase, the amount of value added needs to be greater than the firm’s investors could have achieved investing in the market portfolio.

SECTION 2: Working CapitalA good indicator of a company’s health is its working capital. The working capital represents the amount of operating liquidity that is available to a business and is calculated as current assets minus current liabilities. A company can be endowed with assets and profitability, but short of liquidity, if these assets cannot readily be converted into cash. Section 2 of this report focuses on the three components of current assets: sales, receivables, and purchases.

SalesThe objective of any business is to create or increase profits through sales. One way that D’Leon might increase sales would be to offer 60-day credit terms to their customers rather than the 30-day credit terms that they currently offer. If sales were to double as a result of the change in their credit policy, the cash account would initially decrease because they would have to build up their inventory to support the increased sales. This would result in an increase in accounts receivable. Over time, D’Leon’s cash account would eventually begin to rise as collections increased. One downfall to this option, however, would be if the competitors learned of the change and began to offer similar credit terms to their customers. If this were to happen, D’Leon’s sales would remain constant, resulting in its cash account decreasing and its accounts receivable increasing.

ReceivablesDay-to-day business at D’Leon, just as in any other business, consists of them spending money. They spend money for labor, materials, and fixed assets needed to make products to sell. The sale of these products result in receivables, which are simply the billing of customers who owe money to the company for the goods that have been provided. The receivables eventually generate cash as the outstanding bills are paid by the customers. Because of this process, D’Leon’s cash account has decreased dramatically due to the company spending more cash than it is taking in. Because of this, it appears that the sales price does not exceed its costs per unit sold. This has a negative effect on the cash balance because, as stated above, more cash is going out than is coming in.

PurchasesD’Leon purchases its materials on 30-day terms, meaning that it is supposed to pay for its purchases within 30 days of receipt. Judging by D’Leon’s 2005 balance sheet , its suppliers probably do not get paid on time. This conclusion can be made from the fact that sales have only increased by about 76% over the past year while accounts payable have increased by about 260%.

SECTION 3: Problems AnalysisAdditional questions and problems have raised concern among the board members and the major shareholders of D’Leon Incorporated. Section 3 of this report focuses on these issues as well as options that the company might pursue to ensure a healthy financial future.

Cash ProblemsThe expansion at D’Leon weakened their financial strength. Because the company issued long-term debt rather than common stock for the funding, it appears that it has financed its expansion with external capital rather than with internally generated funds. Due to the significant increase in receivables, even if it had broke even in 2005, D’Leon would still experience a cash shortage requiring it to raise external capital to finance its increase in assets.

Regarding the company’s physical stock, the question has been raised to depreciate them over 7 years rather than 10 years. Unfortunately, this change would not affect the physical stock. The balance sheet account for fixed assets, however, would decrease due to the increasing accumulated depreciation. The company’s reported net income would decrease and the decrease in tax payments would result in an increased cash position.

Stock IssuesEarnings per share (EPS) are the earnings returned on the initial investment amount. It is calculated by dividing net income by shares outstanding. Dividends per share are calculated by dividing dividends by shares outstanding. Book value per share is calculated by common equity divided by shares outstanding. The market price per share of a stock does not equal the book value per share because the market value reflects future profits, while the book value per share represents historical cost of the stock.

Tax IssuesFor businesses, interest paid is tax deductible. This is because it is considered an expense and is paid out of pre-tax income. Dividends paid, however, are paid out of after-tax income. Interested earned is subject to income taxes because it is part of the company’s taxable income. Dividends received are also taxed as part of the ordinary income. For corporations, Capital gains are taxed as ordinary income. D’Leon was able to use Tax Loss Carry-Back and Carry-Forward Provisions to receive a tax refund because of its net loss of -$160,178 in 2005.

PART II:Financial StatementAnalysisSECTION 1: Ratio AnalysisThe primary goal of any business is to maximize its value. In order to do this, it must take advantage of its strengths and correct its weaknesses. Businesses do this by first comparing their performance to other businesses in the same industry and secondly by evaluating trends in their financial position over time. This evaluation is done through ratio analysis . Ratio Analysis is simply a tool used by individuals to conduct a quantitative analysis of information in a company’s financial statements.

These ratios are calculated from current year numbers and are then compared to previous years, other companies, the industry, or even the economy to judge the performance of the company. These calculations provide assistance in decision-making, reduce reliance on guesswork and intuition, and establish a basis for sound judgment. The following section discusses the five major categories of financial ratios.

LiquidityLiquidity refers to an asset’s ability to be easily converted through the act of buying or selling. A liquid asset can be bought or sold rapidly without causing a significant movement in the price and with minimum loss of value. Liquidity ratios are calculations that show the relationship of a company’s cash and other current assets to its current liabilities. These ratios include the current ratio and the quick ratio. By looking at D’Leon Inc.’s quick ratio for 2004 and 2005, it is clear that their liquidity has decreased, but it is projected to increase in 2006.

Asset ManagementAsset management ratios are another group of financial calculations that measure how effectively a company is managing its assets. These ratios attempt to answer the question “Does the amount each type of asset seem reasonable, too high, or too low in view of current and projected sales?” If a business has too many assets, its cost of capital will be too high and its profits will be depressed. If assets are too low, however, profitable sales will be lost. Asset management ratios include inventory turnover, days sales outstanding (DSO), fixed assets turnover, and total assets turnover.

D’Leon’s inventory turnover and total assets turnover are below the industry average, but their DSO is above the industry average. Their fixed assts turnover, however, is above the industry average. By the inventory turnover ratio being low, it appears that the firm either has excessive or obsolete inventory. If inventory were reduced, their current asset and turnover ratios would improve and the debt ratio would reduce even further, increasing D’Leon’s profitability. If D’Leon were to improve its collection procedures and lower its DSO to the 32-day average, the effects would ripple through the financial statements and free up over $250,000 in cash that would, in turn, raise their stock price.

Debt ManagementDebt management is also referred to as financial leverage. Financial leverage is the using of given resources in such a way that the potential positive or negative outcome is magnified. It most generally refers to using debt, or borrowed funds, in an attempt to increase the returns to equity. Financial leverage can allow greater potential returns to the investor than would have otherwise been available. The potential for loss is also greater, however, because repayment of the loan principle and all accrued interest is still required if the investment becomes worthless. Debt management ratios include times-interest-earned (TIE) and EBITDA coverage. D’Leon’s expected TIE for 2006 is much improve over its 2004 and 2005 levels and is above the industry average. Their EBITDA has also improved, but is still below the industry average.

ProfitabilityProfitability ratios reflect the combined effects of liquidity, asset management, and debt. It measures a company’s use of its assets and control of its expenses to generate an acceptable rate of return. For most of these ratios, having a higher value relative to a competitor’s ratio or the same ratio from a previous period is indicative that the company is doing well. Profitability ratios include profit margin on sales, return on total assets (ROA), basic earning power, (BEP), and return on common equity, (ROE). D’Leon’s profit margin is above 2004 and 2005 levels and is slightly above the industry average. Their BEP, ROA, and ROE ratios have also increased from the previous year, but are all still below the industry average.

Market ValueMarket Value Ratios are the calculations that relate a company’s stock price to its earnings, cash flow, and book value per share. These ratios give management an indication of what investors think of the company’s risk and future prospects. If all of the previously discussed ratios look good, and if these conditions have been stable over time, then the market value ratios will be high, the stock price will probably be high, and management has been doing a good job. Market value ratios include price/earnings (P/E), price/cash flow, and market/book (M/B) ratios. All of these ratios at D’Leon Inc. are above the previous years level, but are all below the industry average.

SECTION 2: Financial Ratio LimitationsWhen evaluating a company, analysts recognize that they must consider certain qualitative factors . These factors are:•Are the company’s revenues tied to one key customer?•To what extent are the company’s revenues tied to one key product?•To what extent does the company rely on a single supplier?•What percentage of the company’s business is generated overseas?•Competition•Future prospects•Legal and regulatory environmentWhile these factors must be considered for all company’s alike, not all company’s can be compared equally when it comes to their financials. There are a number of limitations to using financial ratios as a tool for comparison.

One such limitation is that company’s use different operating and accounting practices and procedures. This could cause distortion in comparisons. Another possible cause of distortion between ratio comparisons is seasonal factors. Industry average comparisons can be made difficult if company’s operate many different divisions. Another major issue is that a company may not always know whether the ratios that they are comparing theirs with are good or bad because some company’s use certain techniques to make their financial statements and ratios appear better than they actual are.

SECTION 3: Problems and DiscussionCredit IssuesIn 2005, D’Leon paid its suppliers much later than the due date, and it was not maintaining financial ratios at levels called for in its bank loan agreement. There was concern that this behavior would lead to the suppliers cutting the company off and refusing to renew the loan when it comes due. Even though the company’s projected ratios appear to be improving, the credit manager will most likely not be able to extend credit to it. However, the bank will mostly likely not demand repayment because this could for D’Leon into bankruptcy.

Financial ProjectionsUsing the extended Du Pont equation, we find that D’Leon has an ROE of nearly 13%. Looking at the 2006 projections in Appendix F on page 16, we see that the company’s strengths include above industry average fixed assets turnover and profit margin. D’Leon also significantly reduced it debt ratio, resulting in a decreased interest expense and improved TIE ratio. Some of the company’s weaknesses include poor asset management ratios, EBITDA coverage, profitability ratios, and market value ratios. I would have recommended that the company perform an extensive ratio analysis of its current financial position before taking on any expansion plans. This could have immensely helped managers to determine the effects of the expansion on the financial stability of the company.

Brigham, Eugene F., and Joel F. Houston. Fundamentals of Financial Management. “D’Leon Inc., Chapter 4 spreadsheet module”. Made available on July 1, 2008 by Dr. Richard Constand.

Brigham, Eugene F., and Joel F. Houston. Fundamentals of Financial Management. Thomson: South-Western Publishers, Eleventh Ed. 2007.


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