写作要求是一个具体的情景（这也是国外大学经常会遇到的情况，通常会把同学们放到一定情境中来解决实际问题，培养学生的实际解决问题的能力）。这里同学们假设是一名financial manager at Lynam PLC, a garden tool manufacturer. 董事会查阅了公司近两年的财务报表，并集中关注于公司的盈利能力和偿债能力（profitability and liquidity）。公司近两年的财务报表如下：
1.Prepare a report for the Board of Directors that evaluates the performance of Lynam PLC in relation to profitability, liquidity, gearing and asset utilisation. Your report must be supported by the calculation of relevant ratios in the four evaluation areas mentioned above.
2.Calculate the Working Capital Cycle in days for Lynam PLC based on the information above, assuming 365 days, for the years 2015 and 2014 AND briefly comment on the company’s liquidity position in 2015 compared to 2014. (round to the nearest day)
All calculations should be clearly shown including all appropriate workings, and should be made to the nearest £000 or two decimal places where required.
Part A; Lynam Plc Financial Analysis
This has evaluated the financial health of Lynam Plc in terms of liquidity, profitability, working capital cycle and asset utilizations for the two financial years, 2014, and 2015. The findings of this evaluation are depicted in the following subheadings.
1.1 Lynam Plc’s Profitability Evaluation
Lynam Plc’s profitability as depicted by financial ratios such as return on capital employed, return on equity, gross profit margin and net profit margin is as reflected in the table below.
Table 1; Lynam Plc’s Profitability Ratios
The findings of the above evaluation reveals that Lynam Plc’s profitability has declined between 2014 and 2015. First the decline in profitability is exhibited by the decline in gross profit margin ratio from 43.83% in financial period 2014 to 40.67% in financial year 2015. This decline could be attributed to two aspects. First, Lynam Plc’s gross profit margin decreased because of 12.90% increase in cost of sales in financial period 2015. Secondly, the direct costs such as cost of sales increased at a relatively higher rate (12.9%) than firm’s revenue (6.89%), thus having a huge offseting effect on the firm’s gross profit. Moreover, the decline in Lynam Plc’s profitability is also depicted by a decline of ROCE from 22.84% in year 2014 to 19.38% in year ending 2015. Similarly, Lynam’s net profit margin decreased from 11.32% in year 2014 to 7.87% in year 2015. The decline in ROCE and net profit margin ratio can be attributed to escalation in Lynam’s operational costs as well as depreciatin expensses from the 2014 to 2015. Moreover, the analysis of Lynam’s balance sheet also revealed that its interest expenses increased, an outcome of the acquisition of more debt capital. The decline in firm’s net profit margin has also resulted into massive cut in shareholder returns. This is depicted by the decrease in return on equity capital from 52.20% in year 2014 to 37.91% in year 2015. Overall, as revealed by the analysis, the decline of Lynam Plc’s profitability is an outcome of heightened interest expenses, operational costs as well as cost of sales.
1.2 Lynam Plc’s Liquidity Evaluation
The ability of Lynam Plc to execute or offset its working capital activities was evaluated using the quick ratio and current ratio. The findings are reflected in the able below.
Table 2; Lynam’s Liquidity Ratios
From the above evaluation, it is clear that Lynam Plc’s liquidity increased amid the 2014-2015 financial periods. First, this is exhibited by an increase in the current ratio from 1.55 to 1.77 amid the 2014 and 2015 periods respectively. From the analysis of Lynam Plc’s balance sheet, the increase in current ratio can be attributed to two factors. First, it’s the increase in firm’s trade receivables and inventories in the 2014-2015 financial periods. In this case, increase firm’s trade receivables could be an outcome of less stringent credit policy. On this note, Airout (2017) asserts that the enhancement in firm’s inventories and trade receivables is an indication of firm’s reduced efficiency in selling its products as well as in collecting its debts from its debtors. The increased liquidity of Lynam Plc could also be explained by the revamped acid-test ratio or quick ratio from 0.83 to 0.93 amid the 2014-2015 financial periods. This is an indication that Lynam Plc is depending more on its liquid assets than non-liquid assets in financing its working capital operations.
1.3 The Evaluation of Lynam Plc’s gearing
According to Ojo (2014), gearing ascertains the proportions of debt and equity capital, which is used in financing firm’s investment decisions. In doing so, the analysis of firm’s gearing is able to reveal the susceptibility of the firm to risks such as insolvency or bankruptcy risks. The gearing of Lynam Plc amid the 2014-2015 financial period is reflected in the table below.
Table 3; Lynam Plc’s Gearing Ratios
From the above evaluation, it is vivid that Lynam Plc is highly geared. This means that the company uses more of debt capital than equity capital to fund its investment decisions. This is depicted by a gearing ratio, which is above the 50% threshold in 2014 and 2015. Secondly, the increase in the gearing ratio from 74.98% to 76.60% amid the 2014-2015 financial periods can be attributed to intense borrowing of long term loans in 2015. Also, from the above evaluation, it is clear that Lynam Plc experienced a decrease in its interest coverage ratio from 5.42 to 2.90 amid the 2014-2015 financial periods. The decline in interest coverage ratio insinuates that the ability of the firm to offset its interest expenses of long-term loans is declining. From the analysis of Lynam Plc’ income statement, it is clear that the decline in interest coverage ratio can be attributed to decline in its operating profit, which an outcome of heightened operating expenses.
1.4 Asset Utilization
According to Merville and Tavis (2013), asset utlization mirrors the efficiency deployed by the firm in making use of its assets to generate ample returns or profits. The asset utlization of Lynam Plc is depicted in the table below.
Table 4; Lynam Plc’s Asset Utilization
From the above evaluation, the Lynam’s days sales outstanding escalated from 56 days in the year ending 2014 to 66 days in the year ending 2015. According to Knight (2012), days’ sales outstanding is a financial metric that ascertains how well company’s receivables are being managed. The rise in days’ sales outstanding at Lynam Plc is an indication that over the last two years (2014 and 2015) majority of sales in that company are made on credit. This is depicted an increment in trade receivables. Also, from the above evaluation, Lynam Plc’s days’ inventory outstanding decreased from 120 days in the year 2014 to 119 days in the financial year 2015. According to Migiro (2014), days’ inventory outstanding is a financial metric that ascertain the number of days taken by the company to dispose its inventories to its actual buyers. As such, there was a margnal improvement in Lynam Plc’s efficiency in converting its stocks into sales amid the 2014 and 2015 financial periods. The analyis in table 4 also depicts that there was a reduction in the days’ payables outstanding from 71 days to 56 days amid the 2014 and 2015 financial periods respectively. According to Osipenkova (2016), days’ payables outstanding elucidate the period taken by the firm to payoff its creditors. The reduction in days payables outstanding is a good sign at Lynam Plc since the management can be able to establish an amicable relationship with firm’s suppliers. According to Pacurari and Muntean (2008), an establishment of an amicable relationship between the firm and the supplier nullifies any chnaces of halting the production process because of inefficiencies in supply of raw materials.
1.5 Working Capital Cycle
The working capital cycle of Lynam Plc is exhibited in the table below.
Table 5; Lynam Plc’s Working Capital Cycle
The analysis in the above table reveals a worsening working capital cycle. This is because it escalated from 105 days to 129 days amid the 2014-2015 financial periods. According to Tran, Lin and Nguyen (2016), an increasing working capital cycle mirrors the diminishing ability of the firm to offset its daily operations since most of its finances are tied to inventories or trade receivables. This implies the company’s
For this reason, Lynam Plc need to adopt intensive marketing strategies in order to foster fast movement of its products from its inventories to the market. Also, Lynam needs to adopt a stringent credit policy in order to enhance the collection of money from its debtors.