Derivatives Stabilize Crop Prices

Jimmy is getting everything ready for this year's corn crop on the family farm. Things are a bit different now than they were in his father's day–Jimmy has learned that commodity prices are volatile, and when he harvests his crop in the fall, the market price of corn will be unpredictable. He needs to be sure that he can turn a profit to keep the farm in the family.

To ensure a return on his investment, Jimmy joined a local co-operative along with other farmers in the area. Working with the regional bank his father used, the co-operative purchases a derivatives contract on an exchange to guarantee its members a minimum price for their corn at harvest. High-five, Jimmy!

Short-Term Loans Purchase Equipment

Michelle received some bad news yesterday–she found out that her delivery truck was involved in an accident and the insurance money she will receive won't be enough to buy a new one. Her customers are waiting for flowers. She needs a new delivery truck immediately!

Michelle always looks on the bright side. This isn't such a bad thing–picking out a new truck will be fun. She decides to use the insurance money for a new van and took out a short-term loan from her local bank so she can have the van outfitted with a brand new refrigerated compartment. C'est si bon!

Hedging Keeps Energy Prices Stable

Big Machine Manufacturing Company needs fuel to run its factories. Knowing that the price of energy will fluctuate over the year, Suzie, the corporate treasurer, wants to protect against big swings in the cost of the fuel needed for production.

Working with a couple of banks, the company uses over-the-counter derivatives to hedge natural gas prices. Because Big Machine's credit is good, the banks do not require the company to post cash margin to secure mark-to-market fluctuations in the value of natural gas. The price of the overall transaction takes risk into account. This structure gives the company price certainty and ensures it doesn't have to put up cash while the derivatives contract is outstanding. Super savvy, Suzie!

Commercial Paper to "Deck the Halls"

Last July, the purchasing manager for Stacy's department store needed to order extra holiday inventory including the new line of Plush Buddiez stuffed animals. Plush Buddiez animals are going to be a big holiday seller. Of course the majority of Plush Buddiez would not be sold until December, and the finance department didn't have enough cash reserves to cover the cost.

Paul, the chief financial officer, considered his options to purchase Plush Buddiez before wholesale inventory ran dry and determined that issuing commercial paper was the most cost effective way to raise the short-term capital. An investment bank helped him place the commercial paper with a money market fund, and within 24 hours Stacy's was able to purchase the holiday inventory. Perfect planning, Paul!

Line of Credit Finances Business Expansion

Jimmy has had quite a year! Now he wants to expand his business and open a farm-to-table restaurant. Jimmy wants to convert his large house on the farm into a restaurant so that his customers can eat a farm-fresh meal in the house his father helped build.

But Jimmy needs extra cash to fund the renovation and cover the startup costs, including purchasing restaurant-grade equipment. Working with his local bank, Jimmy is able to secure a line of credit to finance his new restaurant. Now everyone can enjoy Grandma's famous corn bread!

Credit Cards Purchase Inventory

It is one month before Valentine's Day, Michelle's biggest sales day of the year. Michelle needs to preorder roses for the romantic holiday. Using last year's sales figures, she estimates that she will need to purchase 500 dozen red roses and a variety of other flowers. But she doesn't have enough cash on hand to pre purchase her Valentine's Day inventory. Zut alors!

Lucky for Michelle, a strong credit history enabled her to increase her credit limit on her personal credit card. When February 14 rolls around, she will have the profits to pay down her credit card balance. Bon chance, Michelle!

Money Market Mutual Funds Keep Money Active

It is 4:29 p.m. and Suzie receives a large payment for an order of 500 bulldozers from a major construction firm. Unfortunately, the primary bank that she typically uses for these deposits stops receiving funds at 4:30 p.m., so she looks for other options to direct the funds to keep the money active, rather than have it sit in the other company's account.

Suzie decides to invest the cash in a money market mutual fund–a safe, convenient, liquid investment vehicle–because it accepts investments beyond 4:30 p.m. The fund will pay a modest yield until she redeems fund shares to make payments to the company's suppliers. Smart, Suzie!

Corporate Bonds Finance a Technology Upgrade

Stacy's management wants to stay on the cutting edge of retail. Its old cash registers have become obsolete and don't connect to the store's new computer system. Stacy's management decides to invest in a handheld point-of-sale system for all stores and plans to integrate the new hardware within the next six months. But the cost to equip all of Stacy's stores around the country with new technology will be very high.

Working with a recognized global bank, Paul decides to issue a round of corporate bonds to fund the upgrade. For a nominal fee, the bank helps the company price and sell the bonds to the public market. In no time, Stacy's will be upgraded to the newest sales systems. Very professional, Paul!

Going Public Funds Company Relocation

Production costs are rising for Big Machine Manufacturing Company. The company decides that expanding the business to a port state will help reduce transport costs. Lower labor costs and fewer regulations will also help mitigate the costs of business and increase overall profits.

To finance the expansion and relocation, the company will need to raise cash. Suzie believes that taking the company public could help raise the funds needed to move. Working with the finance team, she reaches out to an investment bank to underwrite the public offering and determine what type of security to issue, the price, and when to launch the offering. Big Machine Manufacturing Company decides to sell common stock to finance the move. Stupendous, Suzie!

Short-Term Loan Funds Expansion

Michelle's business is blooming in the heart of Paris. She has been approached by the developer of a building across the Seine, who would like her to open a second shop. She is certain that once the store is up and running it will be profitable, but she doesn't have the extra cash to purchase new display cases or pay the first month's rent.

Michelle turns to her local bank to secure a short-term loan. Within nine months she has successfully opened a second location and has begun to invest the proceeds in a mutual fund–ooh la la!