Financial performance of companies in the construction sector Essay

Part 1: Introduction

The intent of this paper is to research the differences between two houses of the building sector that present contrasting concern theoretical accounts in one specific dimension during the period 2005-2011, and farther analyze the determiners that shape their productiveness and profitableness. The selected dimension is the Turnover/Current Assets ratio, and the purpose is to farther research how this ratio affects the two houses every bit good as their concern theoretical accounts.

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Part 2: Practical Business Context

2.1. Situation of the Construction Sector in the UK

The 2nd half of the last decennary was marked by unprecedented economic fluctuations, chiefly due to the oncoming of the fiscal recession in 2008. These alterations have affected badly companies’ profitableness and productiveness in the United Kingdom, and a figure of other European states ( Myers, 2013 ) .

Figure 1:Productivity across states and in the UK, during 2001-2011

( Haghes and Saleheen, 2012 ) ( p. 139 )

The Construction sector in the United Kingdom, which represents 6,8 % of the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP ) , followed the same profitableness and productiveness forms as the remainder sectors of the British economic system. The most important grounds for this big autumn in end product are the decreased substructure demands, due to the disruptive fiscal environment, and the inability of smaller houses to set to these alterations on clip, which minimised their gross ( Oulton and Barriel, 2013 ) .

2.2. Description of selected houses and their industries

The two houses that have been selected harmonizing to the Turnover/Current Assets ratio are Seddon Property Services Limited ( high ratio value ) , and Watson Steel Structures Limited ( low ratio value ) .

Seddon Property Services Limited is a British Private Limited Company, engaged in the picture, adorning and pre-paint fix contractors. In April 2013 it changed its name to Novus Property Solutions Limited. It is considered a big house in its equal group, and it has been associated with legion diversified undertakings ( Seddon, 2013 ) .

Harmonizing to the Annual Business Survey ( ABS ) of the Office for National Statistics ( ONS ) , the firm’s industry ( SIC: 43,34 – Painting and Glazing ) faced the same effects as the remainder of the Construction sector. The industry’s growing peaked in 2008, followed by a crisp diminish in all fiscal facets, including entire turnover, purchases, and employment, ensuing to a huge decrease of the industry’s size. Therefore, Seddon Ltd altered many facets of its strategic direction after 2008, in order to keep its market portion.

Watson Steel Structures Limited is a British Private Limited Company, engaged in the design, fiction and hard-on of structural steelwork. Since 2011 it has been a member of Severfield-Rowen Plc. It is regarded a big specializer steelwork company, nevertheless it consists of fewer employees than the mean company of its equal group, chiefly due to its extremely automatic work production ( Watson, 2013 ) .

Harmonizing to ABS, the Steel industry ( which is portion of the larger sector ‘Other specialized building activities’ – SIC 43,99 ) suffered badly, due to the fiscal recession. During 2008-2009 the industry’s entire turnover was reduced by a monolithic 39 % , and the endeavors within the industry were reduced by 10 % . Even though the company continued to raise somewhat its turnover, its net net income suffered losingss, since at that clip the company’s direction involved increased hazard, and acquisition of trade recognition.

Part 3: Literature reappraisal of the theory on ratios

3.1. Asset Management

Asset direction is the procedure of utilizing efficiency, effectivity, and efficaciousness in order to pull off a firm’s assets, so that they add value to the firm’s intent. Assetss are categorised to current and fixed, depending on their nature and intent. Their amount represents the firm’s entire assets ( Bull, 2007 ) .

The Asset Turnover ratio indicates how expeditiously entire assets are used in order to bring forth gross revenues ( Collier, 2010 ) . It is calculated as:

This ratio is specifically of import for growing houses, as it provides a benchmark to look into if they are turning gross in proportion to assets ( Holmes et al, 2008 ) .

3.2. Liquidity and Current Assetss

Current assets consist of all assets that can be readily converted to hard currency in order to cover liabilities and outstanding debts ; therefore, they are related straight to the firm’s liquidness. They include hard currency itself, stock list, histories receivable, and all short-run assets used to cover daily operations and ongoing disbursals ( Walsh, 2006 ) . An effectual manner of mensurating liquidness is:

This ratio indicates the gross that can be generated in proportion to current assets. It is extremely of import for a house to be able to pay its current liabilities on clip, which represent the firm’s debts and short-run fiscal duties ( Bhattacharya, 2007 ) .

3.3. Leverage and Current Gearing

Fiscal purchase indicates whether a company relies upon debt finance. Gearing is a step of purchase, and reveals the extent to which a company utilises recognition to function its intents. A company with high geartrain might confront increased troubles in instances of downswings, as it must go on to pay its debitors ( Bragg, 2007 ) . Gearing is categorised to long and short-run. Current Gearing is short-run, and can be calculated as:

3.4. Net income Margin

Net income Margin measures how much net income the house really additions after presenting gross revenues. It can be calculated as:

A high value of net income border normally indicates more efficient cost direction ( Ive and Gruneberg, 2011 ) . However, Bull ( 2007 ) claims that net income border can be a parochial index, as it does non affect the added value derived by the client, over and above the monetary value paid.

3.5. Profitableness

Profitableness indicates how much net income is derived from a labour procedure ; a high degree of profitableness is one of the chief intents of every profit-making house ( Bowles et al, 2005 ) .

3.5.1. Return On Entire Assets ( ROTA )

ROTA indicates how efficaciously a company is utilizing its assets to bring forth net income, before paying its contractual duties ( Holmes et al, 2008 ) . It is expressed as:

A high value of ROTA is necessary for a company to guarantee a satisfactory return on equity. Therefore, it indicates how good the house utilises its entire assets to bring forth an operating excess ( Walsh, 2006 ) .

3.5.2. Return On Capital Employed ( ROCE )

ROCE indicates how expeditiously a firm’s capital is employed ( Collier, 2010 ) . It can be calculated as:

ROCE is widely regarded one of the most of import ratios associating to profitableness. A higher value of ROCE indicates an efficient usage of capital, as the house is using its capital in order to bring forth higher net incomes ( Brealey, 2011 ) .

3.5.3. The DuPont Model

ROCE depends on Capital Employed, so it can be broken into more constituents ( Gruneberg and Ive, 2000 ) . The DuPont method analyses the manner ROCE is affected by three factors:

  • Operating efficiency, measured by net income border
  • Asset usage efficiency, measured by entire plus turnover
  • Fiscal purchase, measured by current geartrain

As a consequence, ROCE can be expressed as:

The DuPont method connects different constructs, and offers a important aid to turn up the specific portion of the company that is underperforming ( Sloman, 2006 ) . The above equation besides presents a nexus between ROCE and the selected ratio, which is Turnover/Current Assets. Current Assets are portion of the Total Assets, therefore their direction affects profitableness.

Part 4: Performance analysis

This subdivision explores the differences between the two firms’ Business Models during 2005-2011, harmonizing to their Standard Reports. Comparisons with their equal group are based on Ive and Murray ( 2013 ) . The selected equal group is the specializer contractors ( Tier 2 – SIC 43 ) , as both houses are engaged in this country of industry. Both the median and the average values were used for comparings, in order to bring forth circumstantial consequences.

4.1. Asset Management

There are important differences associating to plus direction between the two companies. Watson Ltd had circa 494 % more entire assets than Seddon Ltd during 2005-2011. Even though Watson Ltd had 84,32 % more turnover than Seddon Ltd, the latter generated more turnover in proportion to assets.

Figure 2

The two firms’ turnover during the examined period somewhat increased. However, Watson Ltd shows a steady one-year distribution, because during that period it invested on fixed assets, which increased its entire assets. Contrary, Seddon Ltd retained the same sum of entire assets, ensuing to a fringy addition of the plus turnover ratio.

Figure 3

Compared to the equal group, Seddon Ltd presents a really effectual usage of its entire assets, whilst Watson Ltd shows a hapless public presentation associating to plus direction, since its plus turnover ratio is even lower than the average value.

Figure 4

4.2. Liquidity – Turnover/Current Assets

Current assets are straight related to the firm’s liquidness. Watson Ltd possessed 598 % more current assets than Seddon Ltd during 2005-2011, and this demand for increased liquidness is foremost explained by the disbursal of supplies required within the steel industry.

Furthermore, Watson Ltd was partly funded by creditors, so increased liquidness was required in order to cover the creditor liabilities. Seddon Ltd was chiefly funded by its stockholders ; hence, it did non hold the demand to keep multiple current assets, due to its increased equity.

Figure 5

Their one-year analysis shows that the Turnover/Current Assets ratio follows the same form as the Asset Turnover ratio. In 2010, the ratio peaked for Watson Ltd, due to the fact that during that twelvemonth the company maximised its turnover.

Figure 6

The comparing with the equal group indicates the good public presentation of Seddon Ltd over its entire assets. Contrary, Watson Ltd generates less than half gross against its current assets in comparing to the norm, because of its current liabilities.

Figure 7

4.3. Current Gearing

Watson Ltd presents a much higher value of current geartrain, due to the two firms’ major differences in plus direction. Current geartrain is besides affected by the figure of employees. Watson Ltd has fewer employees, so it can utilize a larger proportion of its current assets to cover creditor liabilities. Therefore, the house can have farther recognition. Seddon Ltd has a big figure of employees, so a major portion of its current liabilities is used to cover rewards.

Figure 8

Seddon Ltd has a steady, but low one-year public presentation on the current geartrain ratio, whilst Watson Ltd peaked in 2006 ; however, from 2006 the house increasingly raised its capital employed, ensuing to a general diminish of its current geartrain.

Figure 9

Compared to the equal group, Watson Ltd presents a really high value of current geartrain, because of its increased sum of entire assets. Seddon Ltd presents a really low value, as it does non possess a broad figure of assets, due to its increased equity.

It is noted that the median and the mean values are rather asymmetrical with a positive skew, intending that the mean company presents a lower current geartrain than the mean value.

Figure 10

4.4. Net income Margin

Watson Ltd generated more net income on norm over its gross revenues. Therefore, it can be concluded that Watson Ltd performed better with respect to its cost direction.

Figure 11

Seddon Ltd presents a steady net income border distribution, as it did non change its pricing and cost direction. Watson Ltd escalated its net income border from 2006 until 2009, due to the firm’s engagement in major undertakings associating to London Olympic Games in 2012. However, after 2009 the company reduced its pricing policies as portion of the recession period.

Figure 12

Watson Ltd besides generated increased net income against its gross revenues in comparing with the subcontractors peer group. Seddon Ltd shows somewhat less net income border than the norm, which is besides declarative of its risk-averse direction.

Figure 13

4.5. Profitableness public presentation

4.5.1. ROTA

Seddon Ltd presents a higher value of ROTA, despite that Watson Ltd presents higher degrees of turnover, due to differences in the ownership of entire assets. Furthermore, Seddon Ltd utilises its entire assets more expeditiously, in order to bring forth an operating excess.

Figure 14

Watson Ltd peaked in 2008, due to the major undertakings it was involved in. Nevertheless, since 2009 and hitherto, its EBIT has been significantly diminished, because of the recession. Seddon Ltd generated high degrees of net incomes against its decreased assets. However, in 2011 the company increased its assets, ensuing to a reduced ROTA.

Figure 15

Seddon Ltd has a dual value of ROTA compared both with the median and the average value of the equal group, as they present a instead symmetrical distribution. Watson Ltd is somewhat above the norm, which is non needfully a hapless EBIT public presentation, taking into consideration the big figure of assets it possesses.

Figure 16

4.5.2. ROCE

The analysis of ROCE indicates that Watson Ltd performed better financially than Seddon Ltd during 2005-2011, since it managed its capital more expeditiously in order to bring forth net income.

Figure 17

Seddon Ltd presents a steady distribution yearly, irrespective of the fiscal crisis, as the house was managed without important hazards, due to its inclination to ‘make’ . Watson Ltd performed greater on norm, top outing in 2008. However, the company became vulnerable to outer fortunes, due to its risk-affiliate direction, its increased trade recognition, and its inclination to ‘buy’ . As a consequence the firm’s ROCE fell even lower than Seddon Ltd’s ROCE in 2011.

Figure 18

The comparing with the equal group indicates that both companies have performed above the norm. However, even though Watson Ltd performed better on norm, its public presentation was marked by fluctuations, falling aggressively in the beginning of the fiscal crisis. This instability reveals the added risk-affiliation, whilst Seddon Ltd was managed with less hazard, which led to increased stableness, but lower net incomes.

Figure 19

4.5.3. DuPont analysis

ROCE can be expressed via the DuPont Method as a derived function of three factors: net income border, plus turnover, and current geartrain. The two companies have elaborated different schemes associating to these factors, ensuing to different results.

Using the DuPont Method, the equation for Seddon Ltd is:

whilst the equation for Watson Ltd is:

It is concluded that Seddon Ltd presented lower net income border and current geartrain than Watson Ltd, but a higher plus turnover. The interrelatednesss among the three ratios resulted to:

4.6 Competition

In order to gauge competition, the two firms’ market portions were compared with the top 100 companies per each equal group from FAME, for the period 2005-2011. The top companies were chosen, and non the 1s closest to the chosen houses, because the latter would bring forth expected consequences. Harmonizing to Boone ( 2008 ) , market portion can be calculated as:

Seddon Ltd’s competition consists of other big houses runing in the picture and glazing industry. The house seeks distinction in footings of invention and sustainability. During the last old ages it has invested on staff development and preparation programmes, support theoretical accounts, engineerings, and renewable energies, whilst it developed new accomplishments, like shared hazard development. Its equal group analysis indicates that it maintains a important market portion among the industry’s top companies.

Figure 20

Watson Ltd differentiates itself from its rivals via its high specialization of labor. At the same clip, the company has internal control and comprehensive hazard direction procedures, in order to place and measure the possible hazards to the firm’s short and long term value. However, its equal group analysis indicates that it maintains an mean market portion within a really demanding and concentrated industry.

Figure 21

The analysis of both houses via Porter’s Five Forces indicates that even though Watson Ltd achieved higher values of profitableness on norm, it has a strategic disadvantage, due to its industry’s ferocious competition. Contrary, Seddon Ltd has an advantage relating to both horizontal and perpendicular forces, because of its industry reduced size and competition ( Porter, 1979 ) .

Figure 22

( Porter, 1979 )

Part 5: Decisions

The two houses elaborated different strategic direction associating both to employment and the ownership of assets, during 2005-2011. Seddon Property Services Limited presented increased degrees of employment, but maintained reduced degrees of entire assets, whilst Watson Steel Structures Limited had fewer employees, but a huge figure of entire assets.

Their major differences in plus direction are based on their liquidness demands. Watson Ltd presented increased fiscal purchase, since its growing partly depended on trade recognition. Therefore, the house had increased liquidness demands to cover its current liabilities, and avoid insolvency. On the other manus, Seddon Ltd presented better degrees of equity ; hence, its liquidness demands were less, due to the fact that it was chiefly funded by the stockholders. The liquidness differences between the two houses are besides capable to their industries, since the steel industry requires more expensive supplies than the picture and glazing industry. As a consequence, Watson Ltd can be regarded as a house that ‘buys’ , whilst Seddon Ltd as a house that ‘makes’ .

Furthermore, Watson Ltd’s direction was risk-affiliate, which resulted to increased net incomes until 2008 ; nevertheless, the company’s profitableness ratios ( ROCE and ROTA ) decreased significantly, due to the recession’s turbulent environment, doing more jobs to its ability to cover current liabilities. On the contrary, Seddon Ltd’s direction was risk-averse, and as a consequence the house was more immune to unprecedented alterations, and maintained a balanced profitableness form even during the recession ; nevertheless, its degrees of profitableness remained steadily low.

All in all, both houses presented higher values to most ratios, compared to the mean and average values of their equal group ( Tier 2 ) , including profitableness ratios. Despite their huge differences, it can be concluded that both companies were managed good, in order to function their specific intents and values.

Part 6: Recommendations

  • The Turnover/Current Assets ratio is of import, and affects profitableness from many angles. The sum of current assets can be decisive for the constellation of ROCE, as it affects the interrelatednesss among net income border, plus turnover, and current geartrain.
  • Risk direction is of import, and it depends partly on the industry’s competition. Nevertheless, balance is needed, since extra risk-affiliation may take to increased short-run profitableness for the stockholders, but the house will go vulnerable to outer alterations.
  • Liquid is important in order to avoid insolvency. However, extra liquidness may go a barrier to farther investings.

Further Research

  • It would be of involvement to compare the dealingss -before and after the oncoming of the recession- among the two firms’ directors, employees, providers, and clients, and how possible behavioral alterations might impact productiveness and profitableness.