Respond to the following scenario with your thoughts, ideas, and comments. Be substantive and clear, and use research to reinforce your ideas.
Mary Francis has just returned to her office after attending preliminary discussions with investment bankers. Her last meeting regarding the intended capital structure of Apix went well, and she calls you into her office to discuss the next steps.
“We will need to determine the required return for our intended project so that we have a decision criteria defined for the project,” she says.
“Do you have the information I need to describe capital structure and to calculate the weighted average cost of capital (WACC)?” you ask.
“I do,” she smiles. “We can determine the target WACC for Apix Printing Inc., given these assumptions,” she says as she hands you a piece of paper that says the following:
- Weights of 40% debt and 60% common equity (no preferred equity)
- A 35% tax rate
- Cost of debt is 8%
- Beta of the company is 1.5
- Risk-free rate is 2%
- Return on the market is 11%
“Great,” you say. “Thanks.”
“Be sure to indicate how these costs of capital might be used to determine the feasibility of the capital project,” Mary says. “I want your recommendation about which is more appropriate to apply to project evaluation, too. Let me know what you think.”
“One more thing,” she says as she stands up to signal the end of the meeting. “You did a good job with the explanations that you provided Luke the other day. Would you have time to define marginal cost of capital for me so I can include it in my discussions with investors? You seem to have a knack for making things accessible to nonfinancial folks.”
“No problem,” you say. “I’m glad my explanations are so useful!”
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Apix Printing, Inc.
Apix Printing, Inc. is a private, domestic United States printer of periodicals, newspaper inserts, and advertising materials that accompany distributions of Sunday and weekday circulations of large metropolitan newspapers. The company, headed by chief executive officer (CEO) John Matthews, generates $450 million in revenues from three product lines (periodicals, inserts, and advertising) and has long-term contracts with several large U.S. retailers to produce weekly sales flyer inserts as well as metropolitan newspapers to produce Sunday magazine inserts and coupons. Its printing presses are characterized by offset print technology and are capable of high-capacity output; in addition, the company recently migrated to water-soluble inks, which considerably reduces manufacturing emissions.
The company’s executive team, employees, and above all, its vice president (VP) of Production, Luke Stewart, are committed to environmentally-sustainable manufacturing practices. Presently, the only substrate Apix uses is paper, specifically newsprint of various weights. Trim and waste are recycled in accordance with the company’s sustainability commitment. Manufacturing divisions are geographically aligned with customers’ locations to minimize logistics costs and response time to customer requirements; however, a centralized corporate entity administers functions such as human resources, information technology, and financial reporting. The VP of sales and administration, James Simeon, oversees administration and quality compliance among the various divisions. There are presently five manufacturing divisions: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest.
Currently, Apix is only marginally profitable, and as such, the chief financial officer (CFO), Mary Francis, has indicated that external financing will be required to support a company expansion into a new segment of the printing sector: food packaging. This endeavor will require new investments in equipment as well as substrate inventory; promotional costs will also increase. In addition, Timothy Russell, the new Audit Committee Chair, has pointed out that the company’s compliance with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) will also cause administrative costs to increase. Following the requirements is paramount to successfully file a registration statement and to issue equity to shareholders in an initial public offering (IPO).
As the newly hired VP of finance, you report to the CFO. In this capacity, your responsibilities include preparation of financial statements, comparative analysis and benchmarking to sector performance, and the assessment of new business investment opportunities to grow Apix’s expansion endeavors in a challenging market.
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