How well did ATI perform during the period 1993-1997

1. How well did ATI perform during the period 1993-1997?


Below are the financial highlights for the five year period from the year 1993 to 1997 indicating significant trends and fluctuation of Advanced Technologies Inc., performance for such period as follows;

From the above table, we can clearly see that the total asset base of the company has been consistently increasing by 68% during 1993-1994, 61% during 1994-1995 and 40% during 1995-1996 and finally 34% for during 1996-1997. This considerable increase in revenue is solely due to increase in sales revenue for such years from a minimum of 10% during 1996-1997 to a maximum of 80% during 1993-1994. There is however slightly a varying trend in the total liabilities which include both long term and short term liabilities. The total liabilities have increased by 204% during 1993-1994 because of substantial increase in trade creditors and the company’s accrued expenses. Although, the company is burdened by the long term debt yet it has defaulted in the interest and current maturities. Further, the cost of goods sold has also increased each subsequent year from a minimum of 14% during 1996-1997 to a maximum of 77% during 1993-1994. This is truly dependent on the volume of sales. The total expenses include research and development costs and the related selling, general and administrative overheads which have increased continuously subject to a maximum increase in 1993-1994 because of major increase in sales volume by 80%. Similarly, the interest expense on the borrowings exhibit major increase of 250% due to higher sales in 1993-1994 but eventually it remains stable. Overall, the company’s financial performance is healthy as we can see that net income is continually increasing which had resulted in equity growth.

Ratios Analysis

For the purpose of analyzing the financial information of Advanced Technologies Inc., a thorough analysis has been performed on the key financial ratios. These ratios have been calculated on the basis of the financial statements of from 1993 to 1997 as follows;

From the above data we can see that due to positive revenue growth and corresponding marginal increase in costs has resulted in good profitability over these 5 years. The earnings before income tax as percentage of sales have gone to the highest by 11.4% during 1995 and eventually slightly decreased due to corresponding increase in finance costs. The cost of goods sold as percentage of sales however remains stable at 55% on average which is a good indicator of company’s effective control over its costs. Similarly, the research and development costs and selling and admin expenses percentage seems satisfactory as a result of which the net income goes the highest up till 1995 and so thus the return on equity. To sum up, the overall profitability is remarkable over these five years.

However, as we proceed further, we can see that the company is suffering inefficiency in management of its assets and more particularly its working capital. Since from 1993 the average collection period is high and it goes to 109 days during 1997. The more worse are the inventory turnover days which are very higher and show that the company is unable to replenish its inventories to make a rapid sale. This is due to lower demand in the marketplace. The working capital thus seems to be stuck and thus due to poor and weak cash flows the company is unable to meet its current obligations and accrued expenses.

Furthermore, another key business concern is the unstable financial leverage as total liabilities have exceeded by 50% and has reached to 64% in 1997. Thus total debt to equity ratio is 57% which is considered to be high enough and thus shows that the company is highly geared. The times interest earned was high at 6.7 during 1996 and deteriorated to 2.4 in 199. The current ratio has decreased but still considered to be satisfactory as it is still above 1 in the year 1997.

Cash Flow Analysis

From the following cash flows over the four year period we can see that cash flow from operations are negative. This shows that the company is suffering from liquidity crisis in its poor management of cash flows. Quite evidently, this is due to increase in accounts receivables and inventories. The investments in capital projects are going high each year to a maximum of $ 37.6 million in the year 1996. However, the financing from bank has been considerable increased at 93.9 million in flow of cash in the year 1997.

To sum up, the cash flows clearly indicate that the company is not self sufficient to generate funds from its operations. Currently, it is totally dependent on bank borrowing.

2. What are the biggest challenges facing Advanced Technologies, Inc (ATI) as of October 1997?


The following are the biggest challenges for Advanced Technologies, Inc (ATI) as of October 1997.

(a) Liquidity crisis followed by poor management in working capital thus leading to weak cash flow funds mechanism. Since the collection period has gone high and so thus the inventory turnover days due to low demand, it has become difficult for the company to generate funds more frequently. Consequently, it is more probable that this will impair the company’s ability to discharge its liabilities towards its suppliers.

(b) Being highly geared due to excessive reliance on bank borrowing. Although, the company has not yet defaulted in meeting debt obligations but there is a significant risk of default if these circumstances continues to deteriorate in the long run. Thus, it will result in unnecessary covenants and further charge of the bank over the company’s present and future financial assets.

(c) Fluctuation in the demand factor in the semi-conductor industry.

(d) Competition and competitive advantage through region wise capturing of market base over a diversified customer’s portfolio.

(e) Loss of market share due to non-payment of dividend over the years.

(f) Increase research and development costs without any effectiveness in the process such as development of new technologies to uphold the competitive advantage.

3. What has caused the huge increase in bank loans, despite record profitability?


The huge increase in bank loans is because of inefficiency and poor management of working capital. The company is unable to generate cash inflows from its operations as there are only cash outflows onward from 1993 to 1997 from a minimum of $14.2 million dollars in 1996 to a maximum of $64.5 million dollars in 1997. This is solely due large number of days in collections from the customers and even more time lag in the replenishment of inventories. This time lag is due to low demand. Although, the company is profitable over the said years but the cash flow and funds management process is the main cause of increase in bank loans.

Further, as the company’s debenture had been converted to common stock in the year 1993-1994. However, no dividend has been paid over the years despite profitability and thus it inhibits future investment in the company’s business and thus resulted on reliance from bank borrowing.

4. What are the implications of 20% per year sales growth for ATI’s future financing requirements?


The 20% per year sales growth for ATI’s future financing requirements will increase the sales, expenses and profit of the company. It is evident to note that the higher the profit rate, the lower the need for additional debt financing and the higher the earnings per share. But this will only benefit the company unless or until the present issues are resolved and working capital is effectively and efficiently managed.

5. How should a company with ATI’s characteristics finance itself?


ATI should devote attention towards generation of internally generated funds by maximizing efficiency in the management of working capital. The company must devise strategies to increase revenues by entering into new markets and capitalizing diversified customers’ portfolio. This will help the company to achieve revenue growth and competitive advantage over its competitors. Furthermore, the expenditure on research and development must be effective in generating innovative ideas and thus leading to the advent of new technologies which will act as self generated source for financing its future needs of operations.

Moreover, it is advisable that instead of going for bank borrowing, the company should go for right issue shares to inject more capital into the company’s business and devise cost cutting strategies for increased profitability and start paying dividends to increase its market share in the stock markets

6. How sound is Mr. Michael’s financial plan?


The Michael’s financial plan accompanying five-year financial projection shows a 20% annual growth rate for sales, a 12% operating profit margin, and an improvement in the turnover of total assets. The projections are based on an analysis of its historical performance and that of its main competitors viz; Applied Materials and PRI Automation, which are consistent with the industry sales growth that has been discussed during its strategic planning sessions.

From 1997 to 2002 sales are projected to grow from $605 million to $ 1,505 million, and net profit from $18.5 million to $99 million. By 2002 total debt will 37% of total capital. This assumes that the $ 30 million subordinated debenture issued in 1994 will be converted into equity in the year 2000. Earnings per share will grow from $1.68 in 1997 to $7.92 and the possible market price of the stock reaches $143, assuming a multiple of 18 times.

It is however, extremely interesting to note the relationship of operating profitability, total debt, earnings per share, and the share price, assuming future sales growth of 20% per year.

It is quite obvious that, the higher the profit rate, the lower the need for additional debt financing and the higher the earnings per share. This demonstrates the importance of the company’s programs to reduce manufacturing costs and to increase the effectiveness of its research and development expenditures without slowing the development of the new technologies that provide the highest levels of wafer throughput, yield and quality.

7. What should Mr. Alexander do?


Mr. Alexander should in consultation with the Board of the company devise a strategy to eradicate the issue of weak cash flows from the operations. For this purpose, the main things on agenda list are how to tackle the inefficiency and poor management towards working capital. A policy is to be drafted and must be communicated to all the stakeholders of the company particularly the major customers to make payments swiftly and for the sake of encouragement a discount is to be offered. This will somehow reduce the time lag in collection of accounts receivables. Further, a production schedule is to be formulated keeping in view the present demand so that there should neither be excess inventories nor any stock out situation. More efforts should be made towards selling and marketing activities to sell the existing stock. Entering into new markets is also a good option to increase revenue and gaining more diversified customer’s portfolio and leads to a better competitive advantage. In addition, there should be a cost versus benefit analysis on all the expenditures served on research and development. Innovation and new technologies will significantly enhance the company’s present condition and will take it to a rapid transformational growth state. Apart from the strategy of internally generating funds, the company might go for right issue of shares to inject more equity capital for its future financing requirements. The company needs to pay out dividends to attract more investors and thus it will eliminate interest costs and any unnecessary covenants of bank as a charge over the company’s present and future assets.

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