Case Analysis on Capital Structure Pioneer Petroleum

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Application of Capital Structure, Costs of Capital for Multiple Division firms

Case Analysis: Pioneer Petroleum Corporation (PPC).1

Submitted by: Joseph Donato N. Pangilinan, FICD
Date Presented: April 12, 2012

Introduction:

This landmark case seeks to break the risk-reward trade off involved in calculating Capital Cost. The object of the solution must be to minimize project risks while maximizing project opportunities available. We want a rate and a rating system that does not unnecessarily reject “the best available projects – i.e. highest net positive free cash-flows at that time.” Particularly in times of excess capacity, this will marginally contribute to increasing company wide yields, but will not necessarily match the company-wide yield imposed by investors.

History of the Company and Background of the Case:

Sometime in July 1991, one of the critical problems confronting management and the board of Pioneer Petroleum Corporation, hereinafter referred to as Pioneer, is about Capital Budgeting; specifically they needed to determine the Minimum Acceptable Rate of Return, or MARR, on new capital investments. Their capital budgeting approach was to accept all proposed investments with a positive net present value when cash-flows are discounted at such appropriate cost of capital.

Formed in 1924 through mergers of several formerly independent firms operating in the oil refining, pipeline transportation, and industrial chemical fields, pioneer Pioneer did vertical, horizontal, and backward integrations into exploration and production of crude oil, marketing refined petroleum products, plastics, agricultural chemicals, and later diversified into real estate development. In 1985 Pioneer restructured further into hydrocarbon-based oil, gas, coal, and petrochemicals.

Statement of the Problem:

What rate or rating system will consider specific, inherent risks of divisions and operating sectors AND consider benefits ascribed to the single-rate Weighted Average Cost of Capital approach? How can we help Pioneer Petroleum make an objective, rational choice on the hurdle or cut-off rates for evaluation of new projects in a fully integrated conglomerate of multiple divisions; determine whether they should use the SINGLE company wide Weighted Average Cost of Capital, which reflect the rates at their face value to the company, OR proposed MULTIPLE Divisional Cost of Capital, which reflects risk-profit characteristics inherent in various divisions and operating sectors.

Objectives/ Directions of the Solution

1) The decision must help the management and board of directors of Pioneer Petroleum decide on the fair and objective Hurdle Rate/s that will fairly qualify new investment projects of Pioneer Petroleum divisions 2) Whatever the recommendation ought to be consistent with facts of the case, and provide consonance, rather than inconsonance, with the efforts of both the division and central or corporate management to execute strategy, leverage on strengths, and empower the company to make investments to gain and sustain competitive advantage. 3) The recommended project rate and rating system must be simple, objective and fair. 4) It must consider specific, inherent risks of divisions and operating sectors 5) It must also address the interest of stockholders to maximize return on their equity or investments.

Case Facts and Assumptions:

1) It is the Policy of the board to balance the source of funds, or to keep the funded debt and equity ratio at 50:50 . Debt and Equity financial ratios are: a. D-E ratio for refining is 1.5:1,

b. D-E for the exploration is 0.8:1.
2) The Income Tax Rate is given at 34%.
3) Revenue is $15.6 billion
4) Net income $1.5 billion.
5) It is given that dividends increased by 10% in 1990 and 1991, and therefore we will assume to use the higher target equity yields of 2.7 (add the 10%), rather than 2.45 the...
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