Indian River Citrus Company (A)
Indian River Citrus Company is a leading producer of fresh, frozen, and made-from-concentrate citrus drinks. The firm was founded in 1929 by Matthew Stewart, a navy veteran who settled in Miami after World War I and began selling real estate. Since real estate sales were booming, Stewart’s fortunes soared. His investment philosophy, which he proudly displayed behind his desk, was “Buy land. They aren’t making any more of it.” He practiced what he preached, but instead of investing in residential property, which he knew was grossly overvalued, he invested most of his sales commissions in citrus land located in Florida’s Indian River County. Originally, Stewart sold his oranges, lemons, and grapefruit to wholesalers for distribution to grocery stores. However, in 1965, when frozen juice sales were causing the industry to boom, he joined with several other growers to form Indian River Citrus Company, which processed its own juices. Today, its Indian River Citrus, Florida Sun, and Citrus Gold brands are sold throughout the United States.
Indian River’s management is currently evaluating a new product-lite orange juice. Studies done by the firm’s marketing department indicate that many people who like the taste of orange juice will not drink it because of its high calorie count. The new product would cost more, but it would offer consumers something that no other competing orange juice product offers-35 percent less calories. Lili Romero and Brent Gibbs, recent business school graduates who are now working at the firm as financial analysts, must analyze this project, along with two other potential investments, and then present their findings to the company’s executive committee.
Production facilities for the lite orange juice product would be set up in an unused section of Indian River’s main plant. Relatively inexpensive, used machinery with an estimated cost of only $500,00 would be purchased, but shipping costs to move the machinery to Indian River’s plant would total $20,000, and installation charges would add another $50,000 to the total equipment cost. Further, Indian River’s inventories (raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods) would have to be increased by $10,000 at the time of the initial investment. The machinery has a remaining economic life of 4 years, and the company has obtained a special tax ruling that allows it to depreciate the equipment under the MACRS 3-year class. Under current tax law, the depreciation allowances are 0.33, 0.45, 0.15, and 0.07 in years 1 through 4, respectively. The machinery is expected to have a salvage value of $100,000 after 4 years of use.
The section of the main plant where the lite orange juice production would occur has been unused for several years, and consequently it has suffered some deterioration. Last year, as part of a routine facilities improvement program, Indian River spent $100,000 to rehabilitate that section of the plant. Brent believes that this outlay, which has already been paid and expensed for tax purposes, should be charged to the lite orange juice project. His concentration is that if the rehabilitation had not taken place, the firm would have to spend to $100,000 to make the site suitable for the orange juice production line.
Indian River’s management expects to sell $425,000 16-ounce cartons of the new orange juice product in each of the next 4 years, at a price of $2.00 per carton, of which $1.50 per carton would be needed to cover fixed and variable cash operating costs. Since most of the costs are variable, the fixed and variable cost categories have been combined. Also, note that the operating cost changes are a function of the number of units sold rather than unit price, so unit price changes have no effect on operating costs.
In examining the sales figures, Lili Romero noted a short memo from Indian River’s sales manager which expressed concern that the lite orange juice project would cut into the...
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