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    Quaker Oats annual report

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    Quaker Oats.
    In its annual report, the Quaker Oats Company discloses following:

    Financial objectives: provide total shareholder returns (Dividends plus share price appreciation) that exceed both the cost of equity and the S&P500 stock index over time. Quaker's total returns to shareholders for year 11 was 34%. That compares quite favorably to our cost of equity for the year, which was about 12% and to the total return of the S&P500 stock index, which was 7%. Driving this strong performance, real earnings from continuing operations grew 7.4% over the last five years, return on equity rose to 24.1% (Quaker Oats stock price at the beginning and end of year 11 was $48 and $62, respectively and the year 11 dividends are 1.56 per share)

    The Benchmark for Investment
    We use our cost of capital as a benchmark, or hurdle rate to ensure that all projects undertaken promise a suitable rate of return. The cost of capital is used as the discount rate in determining whether a project will provide an economic return on its investment. We estimate a projects potential cash flows and discount these cash flows back to present value. This amount is compared with the initial investment costs to determine whether incremental value is created. Our cost of capital is calculated using the approximate market value weightings of debt and equity used to finance the company.

    Cost of equity + cost of debt = cost of capital

    When Quaker is consistently able to generate and reinvest cash flows in projects whose returns exceed our cost of capital, economic value is created. As the stock marked evaluates the company's ability to generate value, this value is reflected in stock price appreciation.

    The cost of equity
    The cost of equity is a measure of the minimum return Quaker must earn to properly compensate investors for the risk of ownership of our stock. This cost is a combination of a risk free rate and an equity risk premium. The risk free rate (The U.S Treasury Bond rate) is the sum of the expected rate of inflation and a real return of 2 to 3%. For year 11 the risk free security plus a risk premium of about 3.6% to compensate them assuming the risks in Quaker Stock. The risk in holding Quaker stock is inherent in the fact that returns depend on the future profitability of the company. Quaker's cost of equity was approximately 12%.

    The cost of debt. The cost of debt is simply our after tax, long term debt rate which was 6.4%.

    1. Quaker reports the returns to shareholders to be 34%.
    a. How is this return computed (Provide calculations)?
    b. How is this return different from return on common equity?

    2. Explain how Quaker oats arrives at a 3.6% risk premium needed by common shareholders as compensation for assuming the risks of Quaker Oats stocks.

    3. Explain how Quaker Oats determines the 6.4% cost of debt.

    **Please see the Excel document for the second question as well as the data.

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    Solution Preview

    1. Return to shareholders is computed as follows:
    (Total Net Income less Preferred Dividends)/Shareholders equity

    What I mean with Preferred Dividends is:
    - Includes any dividends approved by the Board of Directors for preferred, non-cumulative shares. Non-cumulative preferred shares, as the name implies, do not accumulate undeclared dividends.
    - Includes any dividends pertaining to cumulative, preferred shares. These shares accumulate dividends in instances that no dividends were approved by the board.

    Note that shareholders equity does not include that of the preferred shares. The shareholders equity is the company's book value of its ...

    Solution Summary

    The expert examines Quaker Oars annual reports. Benchmarking for investments are examined.