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As interest still has to be paid regardless of earnings levels, unstable earnings are not conducive to high gearing ratios. High levels of fixed costs mean that contribution (sales revenue – variable costs) will be high relative to profits after fixed costs – that is, operational gearing will be high. This cost structure means volatile cash flows, therefore high levels of gearing are not recommended. (d) Security/collateral for the debt tud If a company is unable to offer sufficient levels of security or collateral then debt will be difficult to obtain.

Co m Pecking order will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 7a. 3 Level of gearing The main focus of financing decisions is how much debt a company should use, which will obviously affect the company's gearing. The appropriate level of gearing depends on a number of practical issues. com If a company is just starting up, or is in its early growth phase, a high level of gearing is discouraged. The company will find it difficult to forecast future cash flows with any degree of certainty and any debt that is obtained is likely to have high interest rates attached.

They do not negate the financial objectives but emphasise the need for companies to have other targets than the maximisation of shareholders' wealth. tud Question Non-financial objectives Suggest a non-financial objective for each of the following companies. com In 2014, easyJet, the low-cost airline, announced the acquisition of 27 new aircraft in order to expand its network. Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyJet's major shareholder, criticised this move because of concerns that the new routes being targeted may not bring attractive returns and because this high level of capital expenditure meant that dividends per share were not as high as they otherwise would have been.

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