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A) I feel that STC operates in a competitive environment that has the characteristics of being very volatile. I believe the technology market that they are in is based on consumer spending and demand for new technologies. If consumers don't have the extra capital to spend on new technologies, the manufactures of the new products will slow production, which in turn will mean less of a need for testers and testing software, which will obviously cause a decrease in sales. STC also has competition for market share with the testing of silicon chips and circuit boards. If STC does not stay ahead of the competition with new and lower cost ways of testing electronic equipment they could see their market share decline, which could cause great stress on STC's sales.

B) I feel one of STC's most important operating characteristics is the amount of money that is spent on research and development. STC increased their R&D spending by 32% in 1984. I believe this is due to the competitive market they are in, but I also feel they may be spreading themselves thin in to many markets. What I mean by this is that they are in the market of designing and manufacturing testers and test software, in which they have a 31% market share, but they are also in another competitive market of testing more complex systems (VLSI) which seems to be increasing their overall spending.

2) Some of the financial characteristics of STC resulting from their operating strategy are their increase in selling, general, and administrative expenses. They increased the expenses in this area by $34 million from 1980 to 1984. This is a component of them increasing their sales force in the semiconductor and electronic manufacturing industries throughout Europe, North America, and the Pacific Basin trying to increase their market share and sales growth. Due to the competitive environment and market STC is part of, they have increased R&D expense by 32% between 1980 and 1984. Because of the potential market growth STC increased their number of employees and plant capacity. With all the spending and expanding for future prospects, STC has not seen a dramatic increase, if at all, in cash or net income. The significant jump in cash in 1983 was due to the $66 million raised by the selling of their common stock, but decreased immediately in 1984 to $3 million due in part by the $75 million spent to develop VLSI testers.


A) I do not believe that Mr. Finson has done a good job of financial planning and forecasting. I believe that both Mr. Finson and Mr. Watson see a large probability of growth in the ATE market, but I do not believe they have currently, or in the future, planned for increased competition by other companies. STC continues to expand by increasing its workforce and plant capacity in the anticipation of market growth. Total assets have increased by $106 million between 1980 and 1984, which is in due part by an increase in inventories and net fixed assets. STC's current return on total assets in 1984 is 4.1%; in 1980 it was 7.4% which shows a drop in profitability. STC seems to be bulking up instead of trimming down to be more competitive with the increased competition. Accounts receivables have also increased substantially by $34 million and it is currently 33% of sales. In 1980 STC's turnover on receivables was 100 days; in 1984 it has increased to 117.4



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