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Multinational Financial Management Answer

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CHAPTER 1 SUGGESTED ANSWERS TO CHAPTER 1 QUESTIONS
1.a. What are the various categories of multinational firms? ANSWER. Raw materials seekers, market seekers, and cost minimizers. b. What is the motivation for international expansion of firms within each category?

ANSWER. The raw materials seekers go abroad to exploit the raw materials that can be found there. It just happens that nature didn't place all natural resources domestically. Market seekers go overseas to produce and sell in foreign markets. The cost minimizers invest in lower-cost production sites overseas in order to remain cost competitive both at home and abroad. In all cases, the firms involved recognize that the world is larger than the home country and provides opportunities to gain additional supplies, sell more products or find lower cost sources of production. 2.a. How does foreign competition limit the prices that domestic companies can charge and the wages and benefits that workers can demand? ANSWER. As domestic producers raise their prices, customers begin substituting less expensive goods and services supplied by foreign producers. The likelihood of losing sales limits the prices that domestic firms can charge. Foreign competition also acts to limit the wages and benefits that workers can demand. If workers demand more money, firms have two choices. Acquiesce in these demands or fight them. Absent foreign competition, the cost of acquiescence is relatively low, particularly if the industry is unionized. Since all firms will face the same higher costs, they can cover these higher costs by all of them simultaneously raising their prices without fear of being undercut or of being placed at a competitive disadvantage relative to their peers. Foreign competition changes the picture since foreign firms' costs will be unaffected by higher domestic wages and benefits. If domestic firms give in on wages and benefits, foreign firms will underprice them in the market and take market share away. In this case, higher domestic costs will put domestic firms at a disadvantage vis-à-vis their foreign competitors. Recognizing this, domestic firms facing foreign competition are more likely to fight worker demands for higher wages and benefits. b. What political solutions can help companies and unions avoid the limitations imposed by foreign competition? ANSWER. The classic political solution is protectionism. By limiting foreign competition, either through tariffs or quotas, companies and workers limit the ability of foreign goods to restrain domestic price increases. The government can also subsidize domestic firms in competing against foreign firms. These subsidies allow domestic firms and unions to perpetuate uneconomic work rules, wages, and productions processes. c. Who pays for these political solutions? Explain.

ANSWER. Consumers pay for protectionism in the form of higher prices for their goods and service, fewer choices, and lower quality. These consumers include firms that use imports to produce their own goods and services for sale. Taxpayers pay for subsidies in the form of higher taxes or fewer of the other services provided by government. 3.a. What factors appear to underlie the Asian currency crisis?

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INSTRUCTORS MANUAL: MULTINATIONAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, 10TH ED.

ANSWER. Asian countries had run up huge debts, mostly in dollars, and were depending on the stability of their currencies to repay these loans. Worse, Asian banks, urged on by the often corrupt political leadership, were shoveling loans into money-losing ventures that were controlled by political cronies. The result was financially troubled economies that could not generate the income necessary to repay their dollar loans. b. What lessons can we learn from the Asian currency crisis?

ANSWER. Financial crises can be avoided or mitigated if financial markets are open and transparent, thereby leading to investment decisions that are based on sound economic principles rather than cronyism or political considerations. Countries can stimulate healthier economies by avoiding policies that suppress enterprise, reward cronies, and squander resources on ego-building but economically dubious, grandiose projects. 4.a. What is an efficient market? ANSWER. An efficient market is one in which new information is readily incorporated in the prices of traded securities. In an efficient market one cannot expect to prosper by finding overvalued or undervalued assets. In addition, all funds require the same risk-adjusted returns. Absent tax considerations or government intervention, therefore, market efficiency suggests that there are no financing bargains available. b. What is the role of a financial executive in an efficient market?

ANSWER. In an efficient market, attempts to increase the value of a firm by purely financial measures or accounting manipulations are unlikely to succeed unless there are capital market imperfections or asymmetries in tax regulations. The net result of these research findings has been to focus attention on those areas and circumstances in which financial decisions and financial managers can have a measurable impact. The key areas are capital budgeting, working capital management, and tax management. The circumstances to be aware of include capital market imperfections, caused primarily by government regulations, and asymmetries in the tax treatment of different types and sources of revenues and costs. As such, the role of the financial manager is to search for and take advantage of capital market imperfections and tax asymmetries to increase after-tax profits and lower the cost of capital. As noted in the chapter, the value of good financial management is enhanced in the international arena because of the much greater likelihood of market imperfections and multiple tax rates. In addition, the greater complexity of international operations is likely to increase the payoffs from a knowledgeable and sophisticated approach to internationalizing the traditional areas of financial management. 5.a. What is the capital asset pricing model? ANSWER. The CAPM quantifies the relevant risk of an investment and establishes the trade-off between risk and return; i.e., the price of risk. It posits a specific relationship between diversification, risk, and required asset returns. In effect, the CAPM says that the required return on an asset equals the risk-free return plus a risk premium based on the asset's systematic or nondiversifiable risk. The latter is based on market-wide influences that affect all assets to some extent, such as unpredictable changes in the state of the economy or in some macroeconomic policy variable, such as the money supply or the government deficit. b. What is the basic message of the CAPM?

ANSWER. The CAPM's basic message is that risk is priced in a portfolio context. From this it follows that only systematic risk is priced; unsystematic risk, which by definition can be diversified away, is not priced and hence doesn't affect the required return on a project. c. How might a multinational firm use the CAPM?

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

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ANSWER. The CAPM can be used to estimate the required return on foreign projects. It also can help a company raise the right questions about risk when considering the desirability of a foreign project, the most important being which elements of risk are diversifiable and which are not. 6. Why might total risk be relevant for a multinational corporation?

ANSWER. Higher total risk is relevant for an MNC because it could have a negative impact on the firm’s expected cash flows The inverse relation between risk and expected cash flows arises because financial distress, which is more likely to occur for firms with high total risk, can impose costs on customers, suppliers, and employees and thereby affect their willingness to commit themselves to relationships with the firm. In summary, total risk is likely to affect a firm's value adversely by leading to lower sales and higher costs. Consequently, any action taken by a firm that decreases its total risk will improve its sales and cost outlooks, thereby increasing its expected cash flows 7. A memorandum by Labor Secretary Robert Reich to President Clinton suggests that the government penalize U.S. companies that invest overseas rather than at home. According to Reich, this kind of investment hurts exports and destroys well-paying jobs. Comment on this argument.

ANSWER. The assumption underlying Secretary Reich's memo is inconsistent with the empirical evidence. According to this evidence, U.S. companies that invest abroad tend to expand their exports from the United States. The jump in exports stems from the fact that by investing abroad, companies are able to expand their presence in foreign markets as well as protect foreign markets that would otherwise be lost to competitors. This enables them to sell more product, most of which is made in the United States. In addition, the foreign plants tend to use components and capital equipment that are mostly made in and exported from U.S. plants. Penalizing U.S. companies that invest abroad as Secretary Reich suggests would most likely lead to the loss of foreign markets as well as the additional exports that such markets generate. Such penalties would also reduce the efficiency of the world economy. After all, there is usually a reason, rooted in sound economic logic, why MNCs invest abroad. 8.a. Are multinational firms riskier than purely domestic firms? ANSWER. Although multinational corporations are confronted with many added risks when venturing overseas, they can also take advantage of international diversification to reduce their overall riskiness. We will also see in Chapter 16 that foreign operations enable MNCs to retaliate against foreign competitive intrusions in the domestic market and to more closely track their foreign competitors, reducing the risk of being blind sided by new developments overseas. b. What data would you need to address this question?

ANSWER. You would need to take relatively comparable firms in the same industry, but with different percentages of earnings from abroad, and compare the variability of their earnings. 9. Is there any reason to believe that MNCs may be less risky than purely domestic firms? Explain.

ANSWER. Yes. International diversification may actually allow firms to reduce the total risk they face. Much of the general market risk facing a company is related to the cyclical nature of the domestic economy of the home country. Operating in a number of nations whose economic cycles are not perfectly in phase may, therefore, reduce the overall variability of the firm's earnings. Thus, even though the riskiness of operating in any one country may exceed the risk of operating in the United States (or other home country), much of that risk is eliminated through diversification. In fact, as shown in Chapter 15, the variability of earnings appears to decline as firms become more internationally oriented. 10. In what ways do financial markets grade government economic policies? ANSWER. Traders and their customers receive a continuing flow of news from around the world. The announcement of a new policy leads traders to buy or sell currency, stocks or bonds based on their

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INSTRUCTORS MANUAL: MULTINATIONAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, 10TH ED.

evaluation of the effect of that policy on the market. A desirable policy leads them to buy more of the assets favorably affected by the policy, while a policy that is judged to be harmful leads to sell orders of those assets that will be hurt by the policy. The result is a continuing global referendum on a nation's economic policies, even before they are implemented. Politicians who pursue particular economic policies that they perceive to be beneficial to them (e.g., by improving their re-election odds), even if these policies harm the national economy, usually don't appreciate the grades they receive. But the market's judgments are clear-eyed and hard-nosed and will respond negatively to unsound fiscal and monetary policies. Politicians will not admit that it was their own policies that led to higher interest rates or lower currency values or stock prices; that would be political suicide. It is much easier to blame greedy speculators rather than their policies for the market's response.…...

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