Your task (see Lecture 1)
The study will comprise a comparative appraisal of the
financial position, performance, cash flows, and valuation
of two companies in the same sector.
When analysing the three main financial statement
(performance, position, and cash flows) ratio analysis,
vertical (i.e. columnar) analysis, horizontal analysis, and
trend analysis should all be used.
The appraisal includes a SWOT Analysis for each of the
two companies and a valuation of the company’s future
Your task (see Lecture 1, cont.)
The principal sources used will be the published Annual
Reports of the two companies.
You are required to analyse 3-5 fiscal years, a longer
period would be expected for trend analysis.
Your task (see Lecture 1, cont.)
The study shall focus on comparing two companies,
either listed in the in EU (including the UK), both of which
are listed in the same industrial sector !
It must be a multi-year comparative study and must
include financial analysis of the two companies.
The Structure of Your Report (Lecture 1)
The report should be of 8,500 words. The Reference list and
Appendix are not included in the word count. Everything else is
The report should be of the same overall structure you would
expect in any essay or dissertation, including:
Abstract (of a maximum of 250 words)
Contents list and lists of figures and tables.
Literature Review (of at least 30 items)
Study (the Study chapter should be the longest)
Discussion (and Conclusion or)
The Structure of Your Report
Reference list (30 sources in the Reference list would be
relatively sufficient, include at least 20 literature review
and you are encouraged to include more references)
Appendix (which should at least contain the email from
the module convenor Mark Fisher confirming the use of
the first and the second companies in your report).
What you include in each chapter is really down to you.
Your introduction must clarify what your research is
about, the aim and objectives
you should introduce the companies and their industry in
the Introduction and expand on those details both in the
Literature Review and more so in the Study Chapter.
The two companies and their industrial sector should be
described in the Introduction. If that description is brief, a
fuller description should be given at the beginning of the
A brief summary of the findings should be included in
the end of the introduction
Ideally, research aim/objectives should be introduced
somewhere in the Introduction Chapter or the Literature
review and repeated in the study where appropriate.
The literature review (Lecture 1)
The Literature review would be expected to include
material on SWOT analysis, financial analysis, financial
valuation, the industry in which the companies operate,
the country in which the companies are operating and
the two companies.
Sources could include articles in academic journals,
books, chapters in books, professional websites,
corporate communications, newspapers, other media.
Appropriate use of relevant theory will be rewarded.
You must avoid non-reviewed sources such as
“Wikepedia” or “Investopedia” !
Harvard referencing must be used !
The study (Lecture 1)
The Study can be done either as a combined analysis of
both companies or company by company. SWOT
analysis should be included in the Study.
SWOT analysis is a compulsory part of the report. They
can use other models/approaches as well, but they must
You can either analyse both companies at the same
time, or you can conduct a sub-section study for each
company then compare them afterwards.
It is up to you to choose, but you must conduct your
study in a coherent way !
The Discussion should discuss what was found in the
Study, highlighting the differences between the companies
on all aspects of the study with an overall viewpoint on
each company from the perspective of the SWOT analysis.
The current share price of each company must be
mentioned in your Report, along with relevant ratios and
some discussion of what those ratios indicate.
If this is done in the Study section of the report, the findings
relating to this would be expected to be referred to in the
Discussion section and in the Conclusion section.
Do NOT introduce this material for the first time in the
Discussion (Lecture 1)
The Conclusion should start with a brief summary of what
was done during this project. Limitations in the study
should be recognised. The Conclusion should summarise
the findings and then express some concluding thoughts
on those findings. The emphasis in this final part of the
Conclusion should be on the two companies, one versus
The Conclusion should end with recommendations for four
groups of users of the report: Investors , Lenders, Other
Limitations in the study should be recognised in the conclusion