Anheuser, on the other hand, had larger spread operations and could simply use its stance on the market to cover short-term liabilities.
In terms of financial leverage, the charts indicate a ratio of 4.7 for Anheuser Busch and a ratio of 1.4 for Boston Beer. The numbers show a high risk in case of Anheuser Busch (surpassing more than twice the industry mean of 2) and a very stable Boston Beer corporation. It seems that the winning strategy is to develop gradually, to offer your products to an increasing number of possible consumers, but not to overdue it and stick to your fundamental beliefs (in the case of Boston Beer - developing traditional beer with finest ingredients). Again, we notice the same financial reckless approach in the of Anheuser and the traditional stable financial approach for Boston Beer.
The Return on Assets for Anheuser-Busch was of 12.6% for 2006, while the same ratio for Boston Beer amounted 11.8%. Similar figures, with a slight advantage in the case of Anheuser-Busch, highlight the fact that both companies use their existent assets for obtaining profits and revenues in a correct manner.
Compaq Computer Corporation was founded in 1982 and its main field of activity is the production of American Personal Computers, nowadays representing the second largest computer company in the world and the largest supplier of personal computers. In 2002, the company was acquired by the Hewlett Packard conglomerate. The company focused on producing computer systems that were compatible with the majority of software on the market and this issue was innovative a couple of decades ago.The competitors of HP Compaq are important computer manufacturing companies, such as Dell, Lenovo, Gateway, Sony and Toshiba. The financial figures for HP group registered a total level of revenues in 2006 of 91,658 million dollars and a gross profit of 220,231 million dollars. Compaq has initiatives and programs for promoting environmental friendly application for its clients and its business partners. The company distributes its products in more than 100 countries through a network of carefully selected marketing partners, according to some strict performance and quality service criteria.
Gateway was founded in 1985 by Ted Waitt and now represents one of the main promoters in innovation through the technology industry. The shares of the company are traded in the New York Stock Exchange starting with 1997. Gateway was acquired in 2007 by Taiwan giant Acer Inc. And represents now the third largest Personal Computer corporation in the world. Gateway sell their products through exclusive and non-exclusive retailers, by own sales force and by telephone. Also great consideration is paid to Internet order processing system. The company's social objectives include treating customers with qualitative products and services, fact that influenced the overall customer loyalty to the company. The innovative orientation of the company can be depicted by being the first entity to offer systems with colour monitors as standard and to explore the convergence between PC and Television. As a continuation of this trend, Gateway's most successful product is the Plasma monitor, with high fidelity colours and impressive performance.
Comparing the two entities, Compaq's current ratio of 1.35 states that the corporation has a good position in terms of meeting the short-term obligation by using its short-term assets. However, Gateway presents itself with a Current ratio of 1.88, indicating that the liquidity of Gateway is superior to that of Compaq. The differences between the two are not sufficient to draw a conclusion on differences, although the thesis previously explained, according to which the smaller traditional start-up tends to have a more prudent financial approach is viable here as well.
The interesting figure of 1.01 for the Leverage ratio in case of Gateway indicates that the entire assets of the company are in the possession of shareholders, due to extensive capitalization. The financial leverage for Compaq is proven by the Debt to Equity indicator of 6.53, stipulating that only a small part (approximately 15% of Debt is covered by shareholder's contributions).
Return on Assets, our indicator of profitability, is 8.25 for Compaq and a worrying - 24.5% for Gateway. This profitability indicators state that the company's assets were evaluated at a lower value than the market value, and this could be a possible explanation for the Gateway negative result. Also Compaq is affected in terms of liquidity and financial leverage by the fact that the Compaq brand was incorporated into HP, and actual Compaq resides on some personal consumer oriented products.
Johnson and Johnson
Johnson & Johnson's was set up in New Jersey in 1886 and registered an impressive 73 years of consecutive sales increase and 44 years of dividend increase. Employing 120,000 people at global level the company focuses in the production and sale of broadline healthcare products, protecting in this way the safety and the well being of their customers. The decentralization is one of the most important strategies, the activity being divided into a few business lines - Consumer, Pharmaceutical and Professional segment. The company is one of the most profitable corporations in its line of activity - with a value of the Gross profit margin of 75.3%.
Eli Lilly company operates in the bio-tech industry, included in the Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical corporations. Based in Indianapolis, U.S. has over 14 billion in Sales for the year 2005. Eli Lilly Company holds own 24 manufacturing facilities, without including in this figure the 3rd party manufacturers. Among the key products of the corporation we can state:: Prozac, Zyprexa, Cialis, Insulins. Eli Lilly is one of the most important innovation driven companies committed to developing a first pharmaceutical products that would improve the life of individuals. Lilly products treat depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, osteoporosis and many other conditions. Also the gross profit margin is excellent - amounting 82.8%.
Comparing the two pharmaceutical corporations, we once again aim at describing their liquidity, profitability and profitability ratio. Johnson&Johnson's current ratio is 1.5 while the same indicator for Eli Lilly is 2.6. As a conclusion, Eli Lilly can better meet their short-term obligations, as the current assets are 2.6 higher than the current liabilties. The leverage rate, denoting the ratio between the total assets and total debt, is also another financial benchmark - 1.8 for Johnson&Johnson's and 1.9 for Eli Lilly. This similarity show identical strategies of both pharmaceutical companies - that is maintaining a low financial leverage. Therefore, the risk for the two companies is present at reduced levels. The return on Assets for Eli Lilly company is only 8.9% as compared to Johnson&Jonhson's figure of 13.6%. That is the managers of the latter company have better administrated the corporate assets for the previous period.
Barnes & Noble is the number one bookseller in U.S., operating more than 700 own branded superstores in America. It also owns almost 100 mostly mall-based B. Dalton bookstores. Also, the new trends in the economy are observed by the corporation and the e-commerce with books is also booming. Despite the fast start, only 10% of the sales are performed in the online environment. In 2004, Barnes & Noble's started a new line of business, when opened the GameStop subsidiary -nowadays being one the most important U.S. video game retailer. With annual sales of 5,261 million dollars and an net income, the company can be characterized as a top performer.
Amazon started as the biggest retailer of books and now sells an outstanding range of products. Music, DVDs, books, videos, electronics, tools, groceries and other types of services sell at Amazon.com at a pace of 10,711 million dollars, registering an annual growth in sales volume of 26.2%.
In comparing the two large book retailers, we aim again at discussing issues related to short-term liquidity, profitability and financial leverage. The current ratio for Amazon is 1.5 while the same indicator for Barnes & Noble is 1.2, above the average of the industry. The lack of liquidity can be explained by the fact that Barnes & Noble has retail bookstores that imply large administrative costs, reducing in this way the short-term liquidity of the corporation. The Total Debt over Equity ratio for Barnes & Nobles is 2.5 while the leverage indicator for Amazon is 1.67. The conclusion is that Barnes & Nobles is more risky, and this can be explained by the large investments incurred by the company in maintaining the stores. The Return on Assets for Amazon - the profitability of the company - is 7.9%, while the indicator for Barnes & Nobles is 4.57%. The reasons stipulated above also fit for the computed profitability index.
The ratio analysis described was targeted at depicting the differences between large corporations within the same industry. Competitors have different financial ratios, describing the various performances registered by each entity.
1) Roush, Chris "Inside Home Depot" McGraw Hill, Business Week (January 4, 2007
2) the Washington Post, Risky Side of Sears: Retailer Is Recast as a Hedge Fund, as Sales and Stores Decline, Chairman Focuses on Investment,…