KNOWLEDGE
Why lighting’s the smartest investment a CFO can make

Got a bit of cash burning a hole in your (low interest) bank account? Lux’s Mr Money, aka Mark Fryer, group finance director of Dialight, recommends the perfect investment

Any chief finance officer will be under the cosh to produce a solid return on investment in the course of this year – and they’ll be hard pressed to get much of a result from the traditional options.

A quick look at the usual suspects shows what a dismal investment scene we face these days in terms of rate of annual return.

Bank Put it here and you’ll get about 2 per cent, maybe a little more at the building society.

Shares The typical dividend these days is a lack-lustre 3.5 per cent.

Stock market Globally over the past 100 years, it’s delivered 10 per cent on average, but over the past ten years has averaged 0 per cent. Yes, zero.

Currency market Volatility personified in these tricky times.

Commodities Gold, silver and copper have all been good performers until recently.

If none of these will deliver the right rate for you, how about something more adventurous – a bit of a flutter and you can choose the odds. Keep in mind that these odds are always stacked against you and in favour of the bank, just like in real life.

Scratch cards 10:1 on average.

Roulette 2:1 to 65:1 depending on how adventurous you want to be.

PokerSo complex I’m not even going into it here.

The Lottery 13,983,816:1 in the UK national lottery, 175,711,536:1 in Mega Millions in the US, 622,614,630:1 in SuperEnalotto of Italy.

On the other hand, if you decided to invest in, say, LED lighting you’d be looking at a return on investment that could be a whopping 100 per cent in 12 months with similar savings in future years if the price of power increases or remains static.

Impress the chairman

It all depends how much you’re paying for electricity under your current power contract – which, no doubt, has you on a fixed rate for the next 12 to 36 months.

If you replace 400W HPS high bays with 150W LED high bays you’ll typically save 65 per cent on power use as well as doing away with maintenance costs.

Your chairman will be impressed with the way you have improved the company’s green credentials, although the cost savings will be more important.

So what’s stopping you from changing out HPS and fitting LED high bays? Maybe you’ve realised that you can get an even better rate of return as a moneylender. Wonga.com’s typical APR is 2,689 per cent but there are huge risks in this.

The moment of truth

The moment of truth has definitely arrived. For an investment with a guaranteed return and ethical benefits rolled in – like a better working environment, lower light pollution and no hazardous contents – put your money in LED high bays. The return begins the moment you switch them on.

Oh, and by the way, even if you don’t have the money, you can finance the change-out with APR of less than 10 per cent. Instant cost saving, energy efficiency and no cash up front.

What a great deal.

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