Clarkson Lumber Company

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Mr. George Dodge, Clarkson Lumber Company is doing well but there is the issue of whether or not there is too high a risk in granting the request for the $750,000 line of credit. There are many supporting strong points but it also has some problems to work out. This is a company that has many good characteristics and looks promising but needs the extra money to pay off loans, inventory, and supplies. I recommend this company to receive the line of credit. Looking at the individual ratios seen in exhibit 1 and comparing it to the industry average shown in exhibit 2 gives a sense of where this company stands. Current ratio and quick ratio are really low and have been decreasing. For 1995, the current ratio is 1.15:1, which is less than the industry average of 1.60:1, however to give a better sense of where this stands in the industry, as seen in exhibit 3, it is actually less than the average of the bottom 25% of the industry. The quick ratio is 0.61 is less than the industry is 0.90. Both these ratios serve to point out the lack of cash in this company. The cash flow has been decreasing because, it takes longer to get the money from customers, but the company still needs to pay for its purchases. Also, the company couldn’t go over the $400,000 loan limit, so they were forced to stretch their cash. Return on sales is decreasing and is below the industry average, but the goods news is that sales and profits have been increasing each year. However, costs of goods are increasing and more inventory is left over each year causing the return on sales to decrease. For 1995, it was 1.7% which is less than the average of 2.44% but is a lot higher than the bottom 25% of companies as seen in exhibit 3, which actually have negative sales return of 0.7%. Return on equity is increasing each year and at a higher rate than industry average. In 1995, it was 20.7%, greater than the average of 18.25% and close to the highest companies in exhibit 3, of 22.1% showing that the return in investment in the company is increasing, which is good for the owner. Return on assets is also decreasing and less than industry average. For example, in 1995 it was 4.7%, less than the average of 6.3%. However, this also has a positive side. This means that the company has a lot of inventory, which is good on a selling standpoint, because it means there is a larger selection base available for the customers. This could bring in more customers because they can be more confident that the company has on hand what they need. The debt to equity ratio could be a problem. The debt to equity ratio is increasing and is more than double the industry average. In 1995, it was 265% compared to the average of 170%. The company has a lot of debt to deal with including paying the partner what is owed to him. However, there has never been a problem with paying the bills. All the references show that he is a good business man and is reliable. For the bank, as long as the loan is being paid the bank is happy and it appears that this company can handle paying the loan. Inventory turnover is also decreasing and less than the average, but as stated previously, it is because the company has more inventory on hand to give their customers plenty of selection. For instance, in 1995, it was 5.83 times vs. the industry average of 8.1 times, but this gives them an advantage and gives customers a reason to come to them instead of other companies. Since, lumber is a commodity the company has to find a new way to compete. One way is to have a larger selection for the customers. As for accounts receivable turnover, it is also decreasing and less than the average but also signifies another area in which the company is trying to compete in the industry. For instance, in 1995, it was 7.46 and the industry average was 10.7 times. Therefore, Clarkson doesn’t get paid right away but it does make the customers more comfortable since they don’t have to worry about paying the lumber back to Clarkson....
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