Branson Ltd. is a public listed tour company that is based in Melbourne. One of its main operating businesses is to provide tourists with hot-air balloon flights over the city. As their current balloons are due to be retired, they must decide whether to replace them with a large or small model. New balloons have an expected life of 8 years, after which salvage values are $70,000 for the large balloons and $45,000 for the small balloons. Market research has estimated that there is a 60% probability that demand will be high throughout the useful life of the balloons, and a 40% probability that demand will be low throughout the useful life of the balloons.
The large model is expected to cost $900,000, with an extra installation and shipping cost of $80,000. The small model is expected to cost $650,000, with an additional installation and shipping cost of $45,000. The company’s accounting policy is to depreciate using the reducing balance approach of 20% per annum.1 There is also an initial increase in net working capital of $70,000 for the large model, and $40,000 for the small model. The net working capital is recoverable at the end of their useful life.
In the event of high demand, the company expects a yearly operating revenue of $800,000 for the large model, and a yearly operating revenue of $330,000 for the small model. If the demand is low, yearly operating revenue is forecasted to be $700,000 for the large model and $280,000 for the small model. Annual variable and fixed costs associated with operating these balloons are expected to be $400,000 for the large model and $150,000 for the small model. In addition, if the large model is preferred over the small model, the company needs to rent an additional warehouse to store the large balloons. A new warehouse’s rental cost is expected to be $150,000 per year. At the end of year four, there is also an option to cease operation and thus sell the large balloons for $500,000 and the small balloons for $400,000 if the business is not profitable.
The company requires you to calculate an appropriate discount rate using the company’s weighted average cost of capital. The company’s capital structure has remained fairly stable, with a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.2. The company has no plan to adjust its capital structure in the future. Given that the company is listed on the stock exchange, you are able to obtain the historical returns over the last 20 years for the company, the market portfolio and the risk-free asset as tabulated in Table 1. The company debentures have a face value of $1000 and a coupon rate of 10%. They mature in 10 years’ time. Similar debentures are currently yielding 12%. The company tax rate is 30%.
1As discussed in Week 5, ignore residual value in the calculation of yearly depreciation.Table 1
Table 1 (2019) courtesy of Dr Mardy Chiah
You are to prepare a report to present to the CEO, showing the various cash flows based on the different scenarios. Your submission should include the following:
- The use of Excel to evaluate whether the company should proceed with the purchase of large or small balloons, taking into consideration the different scenarios presented earlier.
- A written report stating any assumptions made and outlining your recommendation as to whether the company proceed with the purchase of large or small balloons. Excel tables must be included in the main body and/or appendix of the report.
- All workings in the appendix of the report.
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