Polaroid Corporation, 1996
In late March 1996, Ralph Norwood was faced with the task of restructuring Polaroid’s capital structure. In the past, Polaroid had a monopoly in the instant-photography segment. However, with upcoming threats in the emerging digital photography industry and Polaroid experiencing recent losses in their market share due to Kodak’s competition, Gary T. DiCamillo, recently appointed CEO of Polaroid, headed a restructuring plan to stimulate the firm’s performance. The firm’s new plan has goals such as to aggressively exploit the existing Polaroid brand, introduce product extensions, and enter new emerging markets such as Russia in order to secure Polaroid’s future. In addition to the plan, DiCamillo has included certain core objectives that Norwood would need to consider in his recommendation. These values include goals of value creation, financing flexibility, and staying with the “investment-grade” rating for bonds. His plan would have to afford Polaroid low costs and continued access to capital under alternative debt policies. Norwood would need to access the right optimal strategy with these restrictions; that is to say that even if the most optimal capital structure was to force Polaroid’s bond rating under BBB-rated, Norwood would need to settle for some middle ground.
Polaroid faces several business risks in March of 1996 that will affect its financial policy. The company must consider foreign risk exposure, demand variability, and the ability to develop new products in time and compete in a developing, innovative market. Polaroid is still essentially a one-product line company, deriving 90% of its revenues from photographic products. Polaroid must also consider the threat that digital imaging technologies pose towards the company’s future. With the start up development of these new technologies, it is clear that Polaroid will not have a monopoly in these markets. In addition, Polaroid experiences...
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