Building the perfect balance sheet (TT Sept05 p22-23)

If an organisation can find its optimal balance sheet structure then it can maximise its returns to shareholders. The ideal balance sheet structure will typically depend on whether a company is growing organically or in an acquisition phase. Having decided on the amount of debt a company can manage, the treasurer has to decide whether to borrow short or long, whether to fix or float. A company that achieves lower cost of debt today must realise that the trade-off could be more volatility in the long term. Issuing hybrid capital could suggest the corporate is weak in the same way that the City has traditionally viewed rights issues as a shoring up of the balance sheet.

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