You are to provide a brief analysis of your company(the company is Air Products & Chemicals.Inc, APD) and the industry in which it operates. Your discussion should address the following:
• Company Analysis. Briefly analyze your company from the standpoint of major products/services, lines of business, geographic presence, growth and profitability. What does your company do, i.e. what are your company’s major products or services? What is the dollar and percentage sales and/or profit breakdown of your company by reported business segments? If your company has significant international operations, what is the dollar and percentage breakdown of sales and/or profits by reported geographic region? (Tables would be a very appropriate way of presenting segment/regional breakdown info, and may be taken from original sources with appropriate citation.) Have sales and profits been growing, shrinking or stagnant over the past two years? What are the main reasons for these trends?
• Industry Analysis. If your company operates in more than one major industry, then identify and describe the one industry that contributes the greatest share of company revenue and/or earnings (document this) and focus on it. Briefly describe the industry in terms of product, market, etc. Specifically address the following questions: Is the industry defensive or cyclical as we discussed in class, and why (i.e. what industry characteristics make it so)? Is its market growing or mature? Is its market fragmented (i.e. all companies have relatively small market shares) or concentrated (i.e. one or more companies have large market shares). Address any other issues that you deem relevant. Possibilities include: Is new competition entering, or is there a shakeout of competitors occurring? Are there barriers to entry in terms of technology, capital investment, etc? Document your analysis with relevant data/facts.
• What are two or three major current trends/developments affecting the industry? These can include demand trends, trends in input costs (for example, cotton prices for an apparel manufacturer), or regulatory developments. I am looking here for industry-specific trends (the economy is not an industry trend). Also, don’t confuse seasonal patterns (for example, the tendency of retailers to earn most of their profits during the holiday season) or cyclical (economic) trends with industry trends. Why are these trends important? Are they short-term or long-term trends? Don’t just pick out the first two or three that you see, choose what’s important and tell me why!
• Important: You are expected to use at least two resources discussed by Prof. Simon in her guest lecture on library resources (Plunkett research, Business insights essentials), in addition to the company’s 10-K. （ Cite all resources used. (I am not concerned with citation format, for example, you can simply say something like “Source: S&P Capital IQ Computer Industry Report, 9/2014”).
A few guidelines/tips:
• Answer all questions, and answer the question being asked! Students frequently lose points for failing to do this.
• Your discussion must directly address the above points and questions, therefore a “cut-and-paste” will not satisfy the requirement. You will lose points if I spot cut-and-paste (and I can almost always spot it).
• There are not always “right” or “wrong” answers in these kinds of analyses (although some points, like industry concentration, are fairly objective). The key is to provide a thoughtful analysis.
• Support your analysis with relevant data/facts. For example, it is insufficient to simply say “the industry is concentrated.” Follow up such a statement by identifying the largest companies in the market and their respective shares.
• Since the question always comes up, I would say that 2-4 pages, double-spaced, should suffice to do this assignment (excluding exhibits/tables). This means that you don’t have to write a lot, but you do have to sift through and synthesize the available information so as to include that which is essential and relevant! Two pages of concise, complete, and well-thought-out analysis will get more credit than four pages of random, cut-and-paste facts and unsubstantiated statements.