You are working for NT Investments plc, a private equity company, as a financial analyst. John Smith, the recently appointed CEO of NT Investments plc, sent you the following e-mail.
To: Financial Analyst
From: John Smith
Date: 10th December 2020
Subject: Best performing stocks
I was reading an article on the Financial Times regarding the share price performance of UK stocks in the first half of 2020 (i.e., first 6 months to June 2020), and I was particularly interested by the best performing FTSE 100 index stocks. You can view the list in the attachment to the e-mail.
In your role as a financial analyst I’d like you to select one of the companies identified in the attached list and fully analyse the performance of the business in order to help explain its change in share price.
You will need to identify the most recent financial statements (e.g., the 2019 financial statements if the 2020 financial statements have not been issued) and any information released since the release of these financial statements to support your analysis (e.g., news articles, press releases, analyst reports, etc.). I’d just like to emphasise that I would like you to analyse the performance of the chosen business, so you should focus your attention on the income statement, however other areas of the annual report may be useful too. I will leave this for you to decide which areas these may be.
CEO NT Investments plc
Attachment – Best performing FTSE 100 index stocks
|Best performing stocks|
|Polymetal International plc||Mining|
|Pennon Group plc||Gas, Water & Multi-Utilities|
|Hikma Pharmaceuticals plc||Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology|
|Reckitt Benckiser Group plc||Personal Goods|
This coursework requires a single submission of your report via Turnitin, which is a plagiarism and collusion detection system. If you do not submit to Turnitin your work will not be marked.
You are only allowed to submit the report once, so please ensure that you submit the correct one. Only your report should be submitted, do not submit the relevant annual report, or any other materials.
The submission deadline is Thursday 14th January 2021, at 13:00 BST. Standard penalties apply for late submission. (More information on penalties:
The maximum length of the report is 1,500 words. Front page, contents page and references do not count within the word limit. The standard penalties apply for exceeding this word count. There is no acceptable margin above this limit. You must include a word count at the start of your report.
The mark for the individual assignment represents 50% of the final mark for the unit. You will be required to submit a ‘soft’ copy via Blackboard. You will not be required to submit a ‘hard’ paper copy.
The University’s rules and penalties with respect to plagiarism apply to all assessed work. The work must be entirely your own. Referencing of sources of information used must be made in a bibliography, including website addresses. Penalties for plagiarism are severe, please see:
Obtain a copy of the latest available published annual report of one of the companies identified by the CEO in the attachment to the e-mail.
Your answer should be based on the information available in the company’s annual report, and any other relevant financial information (e.g. in the company’s website, FT.com (and other media commentaries), the relevant stock exchange website, or any relevant database).
In assessing the performance of the company, the use of ratios will be very useful, but the key to scoring well in the assessment is to provide a full explanation of why the ratio has moved.
Explaining what has occurred (e.g. gross profit margins have increased by 10%) is not enough. You should try to attempt to explain how changes have occurred, why changes happened, and when during the year. Also ask the so-what question – i.e. can we consider future outcomes and state possible consequences arising from any changes.
Try to understand the business strategy (e.g. read the business review, financial review or chief executive summary) not just crunch numbers.
Be imaginative and do not just use ratios taken from various sources (databases, annual reports, etc.). Think what is relevant to your chosen company. For example, for a retail business the revenue per square metre of floor space could be important as more sales may have only been generated by buying new stores. For an airline it might be seat utilisation. Industry data will also be relevant.
Use tables, graphs and diagrams, where appropriate, to improve presentation marks. Please ensure that all tables, graphs and diagrams are fully numbered and labelled.
You are not expected to forecast future financial statements or produce any valuation results.
The table below illustrates the criteria that will be used when marking your assessment and the percentage weighting given to each element:
|Report format and presentation||10|
|• Appropriate use of headings and sub-heading • Professional, business report appearance and language
• Correct referencing
• Correct grammar and spelling
• Clear and concise summary
• Provides key findings/highlights
• Explanation of why balance and/or ratio has moved
• Calculation of appropriate ratios
• Benchmarking against competitor or industry averages
• Analysis of trends over an appropriate period
|Conclusions and advice
• Justification of the change in price
• Reflection on the nature of capital markets
Good luck and enjoy the assignment.
This Appendix contains some additional information about the structure of your individual assignment you may find useful.
Example: The gross margin has increased from 45.97% to 46.24%…..WHY?….. because Nike has………USE ANNUAL REPORT (and other sources)! ………reduced product costs through a continued focus on manufacturing efficiency, product design and innovation. GOOD!
The margin has also been helped by delivering innovative, premium products that command higher prices. VERY GOOD!
……. WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE?………………
The gross margin measures the amount of gross profit for every $1 of sales and is a relative measure. Nike’s margin has increased because it has increased its selling price per unit, whilst reducing its cost per unit too.
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