Answer on Other Management Question for John
a. The sustainable growth rate is the maximum achievable growth rate without the firm having to raise external funds. In other words, it is the growth rate at which the firm's AFN equals zero.
b. If a firm’s assets are growing at a positive rate, but its retained earnings are not increasing, then it would be impossible for the firm’s AFN to be negative.
c. If a firm increases its dividend payout ratio in anticipation of higher earnings, but sales and earnings actually decrease, then the firm’s actual AFN must, mathematically, exceed the previously calculated AFN.
d. Higher sales usually require higher asset levels, and this leads to what we call AFN. However, the AFN will be zero if the firm chooses to retain all of its profits, i.e., to have a zero dividend payout ratio.
e. Dividend policy does not affect the requirement for external funds based on the AFN equation.
The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) concept by Robert C. Higgins, describes optimal growth from a financial perspective assuming a given strategy with clear defined financial frame conditions/ limitations. Sustainable growth is defined as the annual percentage of increase in sales that is consistent with a defined financial policy (target debt to equity ratio, target dividend payout ratio, target profit margin, target ratio of total assets to net sales). This concept provides a comprehensive financial framework and formula for case/ company specific SGR calculations.
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