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Chapter 1 Financial Goals and Corporate Governance

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The Multinational Enterprise (MNE)


A multinational enterprise (MNE) is defined as one that has operating subsidiaries, branches or affiliates located in foreign countries. The ownership of some MNEs is so dispersed internationally that they are known as transnational corporations. The transnationals are usually managed from a global perspective rather than from the perspective of any single country.
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Multinational Business Finance


While multinational business finance emphasizes MNEs, purely domestic firms also often have significant international activities:
Import & export of products, components and services Licensing of foreign firms to conduct their foreign business Exposure to foreign competition in the domestic market Indirect exposure to international risks through relationships with customers and suppliers
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Global Financial Management


There are significant differences between international and domestic financial management:
Cultural issues Corporate governance issues Foreign exchange risks Political Risk Modification of domestic finance theories Modification of domestic financial instruments
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The Goal of Management


Maximization of shareholders wealth is the dominant goal of management in the Anglo-American world. In the rest of the world, this perspective still holds true (although to a lesser extent in some countries). In Anglo-American markets, this goal is realistic; in many other countries it is not.
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The Goal of Management


There are basic differences in corporate and investor philosophies globally. In this context, the universal truths of finance become culturally determined norms.

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Shareholder Wealth Maximization


In a Shareholder Wealth Maximization model (SWM), a firm should strive to maximize the return to shareholders, as measured by the sum of capital gains and dividends, for a given level of risk. Alternatively, the firm should minimize the level of risk to shareholders for a given rate of return.
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Shareholder Wealth Maximization


The SWM model assumes as a universal truth that the stock market is efficient. An equity share price is always correct because it captures all the expectations of return and risk as perceived by investors, quickly incorporating new information into the share price. Share prices are, in turn, the best allocators of capital in the macro economy.
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Shareholder Wealth Maximization


The SWM model also treats its definition of risk as a universal truth. Risk is defined as the added risk that a firms shares bring to a diversified portfolio. Therefore the unsystematic, or operational risk, should not be of concern to investors (unless bankruptcy becomes a concern) because it can be diversified. Systematic, or market, risk cannot however be eliminated.

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Shareholder Wealth Maximization


Agency theory is the study of how shareholders can motivate management to accept the prescriptions of the SWM model. Liberal use of stock options should encourage management to think more like shareholders. If management deviates too extensively from SWM objectives, the board of directors should replace them. If the board of directors is too weak (or not at armslength) the discipline of the capital markets could effect the same outcome through a takeover. This outcome is made more possible in AngloAmerican markets due to the one-share one-vote rule.
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Shareholder Wealth Maximization


Long-term value maximization can conflict with short-term value maximization as a result of compensation systems focused on quarterly or near-term results. Short-term actions taken by management that are destructive over the long-term have been labeled impatient capitalism. This point of debate is often referred to a firms investment horizon (how long it takes for a firms actions, investments and operations to result in earnings).
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Shareholder Wealth Maximization


In contrast to impatient capitalism is patient capitalism. This focuses on long-term SWM. Many investors, such as Warren Buffet, have focused on mainstream firms that grow slowly and steadily, rather than latching on to high-growth but risky sectors.
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Stakeholder Capitalism Model


In the non-Anglo-American markets, controlling shareholders also strive to maximize long-term returns to equity. However, they are more constrained by other powerful stakeholders. In particular, labor unions are more powerful than in the Anglo-American markets. In addition, Governments interfere more in the marketplace to protect important stakeholder groups, such as local communities, the environment and employment.
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Stakeholder Capitalism Model


The SCM model does not assume that equity markets are either efficient or inefficient. The inefficiency does not really matter, because the firms financial goals are not exclusively shareholder-oriented, because they are constrained by the other stake-holders. The SCM model assumes that long-term loyal shareholders those typically with controlling interests should influence corporate strategy, rather than the transient portfolio investor.
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Stakeholder Capitalism Model


The SCM model assumes that total risk i.e. operating and financial risk does count. It is a specific corporate objective to generate growing earnings and dividends over the long run with as much certainty as possible. In this case, risk is measured more by product market variability than by short-term variation in earnings and share price.

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Operational Goals for MNEs


The MNE must determine for itself proper balance between three common operational financial objectives:
maximization of consolidated after-tax income; minimization of the firms effective global tax burden; correct positioning of the firms income, cash flows, and available funds as to country and currency.

These goals are frequently incompatible, in that the pursuit of one may result in a less-desirable outcome in regard to another.
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Corporate Governance
Although the governance structure of any company domestic, international, or multinational is fundamental to its very existence, this subject has become a lightning rod for political and business debate in the past few years. Spectacular failures in corporate governance have raised issues about the very ethics and culture of the conduct of business.
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Corporate Governance
The single overriding objective of corporate governance is the optimization over time of the returns to shareholders. In order to achieve this goal, good governance practices should focus the attention of the board of directors of the corporation by developing and implementing a strategy that ensures corporate growth and improvement in the value of the corporations equity.
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Corporate Governance
The most widely accepted statement of good corporate governance practices are established by the OECD:
The corporate governance framework should protect shareholders rights. The corporate governance framework should ensure the equitable treatment of all shareholders. Stakeholders should be involved in corporate governance. Disclosure and transparency is critical. The board of directors should be monitored and held accountable for what guidance it gives.
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Failures in Corporate Governance


Failures in corporate governance have become increasingly visible in recent years. In each case, prestigious auditing firms missed the violations or minimized them, presumably because of lucrative consulting relationships or other conflicts of interest. In addition, security analysts urged investors to buy the shares of firms they knew to be highly risky (or even close to bankruptcy). Top executives themselves were responsible for mismanagement and still received overly generous compensation while destroying their firms.
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Corporate Governance Reform


Within the United States and the United Kingdom, the main corporate governance problem is the one treated by agency theory: with widespread share ownership, how can a firm align managements interest with that of the shareholders? Because individual shareholders do not have the resources or the power to monitor management, the U.S. and U.K. markets rely on regulators to assist in the agency theory monitoring task. Outside the U.S. and U.K., large, controlling shareholders are in the majority these entities are able to monitor management in some ways better than the regulators can.
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The Sarbanes-Oxley Act


This act was passed by the US Congress, and signed by President George W. Bush during 2002 and has three major requirements:
CEOs of publicly traded companies must vouch for the veracity of published financial statements; corporate boards must have audit committees drawn from independent directors; companies can no longer make loans to corporate directors, and Companies must test their internal financial controls against fraud

Penalties have been spelled out for various levels of failure. Most of its terms are appropriate for the US situation, but some terms do conflict with practices in other countries.

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Additional Corporate Governance Issues


Board structure and compensation issues Transparency, accounting and auditing Minority shareholder rights

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Currency Terminology
Foreign Currency Exchange Rate the price of one countrys currency in units of another currency of commodity.
Can be fixed or floating

Spot Exchange Rate the quoted price for foreign exchange to be delivered at once, or in two days for interbank transactions.
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Currency Terminology
Forward Rate the quoted price for foreign exchange to be delivered at a specified date in the future. Can be guaranteed with a forward exchange contract Forward Premium or Discount the percentage difference between the spot and forward exchange rate. Calculated as Spot Forward x 360 x 100 Forward n

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Currency Terminology
Devaluation of a Currency refers to a drop in foreign exchange value of a currency that is pegged to gold or another currency.
The opposite is revaluation

Weakening, deterioration, or depreciation of a Currency refers to a drop in the foreign exchange value of a floating currency.
The opposite is strengthening or appreciation

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Currency Terminology
Soft or Weak describes a currency that is expected to devalue or depreciate relative to major currencies.
Also refers to currencies being artificially sustained by their governments

Hard or Strong describes a currency that is expected to revalue or appreciate relative to major trading currencies. Eurocurrencies are domestic currencies of one country on deposit in a bank in a second country.
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Mini-Case Questions: Enron


Which parts of the corporate governance system, both internal and external, do you believe failed Enron the most? Describe how you think each of the individual stakeholders and components of the corporate governance system should have either prevented the problems at Enron or acted to resolve the problems before they reached crisis proportions?
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Mini-Case Questions: Enron

(contd)

If all publicly traded firms in the United States are operating within the same basic corporate governance system as Enron, why would some people believe this was an isolated incident, and not an example of many failures to come?

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Chapter Exhibits

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