Strategy

Strategy

Looking for CEOs inspired by the Yuletide spirit!

As the New Year approaches, I wish all my co-bloggers and readers a wonderful year ahead with lots of happiness on all fronts – personal, professional and social. We all have our own yardsticks for measuring our happy moments. On the personal and social front our happiness depends on a lot upon the time spent with our friends, family, happy events, trips, etc. On the professional front, happiness to a great extent depends on the type of boss we work with. The kind of corporate leaders in an organization account a lot for the general well-being and happiness of their employees. Recently, I came across this grid posted by Mr Ashok Bhatia on his blog, which measures leaders on three yardsticks – output, concern for people and ethics. It has some interesting nomenclature for leaders depending upon the characteristics they exhibit. They could be Road Rollers, who care only for the deadlines giving two hoots to the concerns for employees or ethics or they could be Crazy Conformists who, while sticking to production deadlines, do not mind compromising on values or on people (sounds familiar?). Then, there are Missionary Zealots, who guard ethics with all zeal but do not give…

Strategy

Diversification Dilemma

Diversification has given way to focus in developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom,  and has often been correlated with lower performance. In contrast, diversified business groups have been hugely successful in most emerging markets, particularly in Asia. Since the mid 1980s, strategists in countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have mostly advocated the use of focused strategies for businesses and have advised companies to ‘stick to their knitting’. Many diversified conglomerates in these advanced economies have been dismantled since 1980s to focus on one or a few core businesses. A look at the motives with which companies diversify reveals some of the reasons why diversification by conglomerates yields benefits in the developing markets as against the discount associated with diversified conglomerates in the developed economies. Growth is a primary motive for diversification However growth does not always translate into higher profitability. Since management status and power is correlated more closely with the size of assets under management, management (the ‘agent’) may have the incentive to diversify for pursuing growth in preference to profitability, which is not in the best interest of shareholders. Reducing risk Having different businesses in their portfolio can potentially balance differences…

Strategy

Core of a Business

We know that firms need to adapt their strategies as per the changes in the business environment. Strategies are highly context specific. What was good five years back will not hold good now. The business model that works for a particular firm may not work in a similar manner for another firm. The strategy that pays off in one country may not produce similar results in another country. While responding to the changes in the environment, sometimes companies have even moved away from their core business. Today, Nokia is a world leader in digital technologies, including mobile phones, telecommunications networks, wireless data solutions and multimedia terminals. You would be surprised to know that Nokia started with a wood pulp mill in Finland as a manufacturer of paper. The company later went on to manufacture rubber bands, industrial parts and raincoats. After World War II they expanded into Electronics and then into telecommunications. HP’s first product was an audio oscillator – an electronic test instrument used by sound engineers. They shifted to computers, printers, servers & imaging products. Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) started as a textile manufacturing business in 1966, and is one of the world’s most vertically integrated and horizontally…

Strategy

How far will the Jaguar leap? Corporate Turnaround of JLR

Tata Motor’s acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover is one of the most discussed cases of a successful outbound acquisition by an Indian company.  Since the past few years, Jaguar Land Rover Plc (JLR), the UK based subsidiary of Tata Motors has consistently been the major driving force behind the revenue and profits for the company and has helped the company to plug losses in the domestic business. The trend continues, with Tata Motors’ profit having tripled in this quarter of 2014, on strong Jaguar, Land Rover sales. Such splendid performance of the acquired company was almost unimaginable for many in 2008. Flashback to June 2008. Tata Motors had acquired two iconic British brands – Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) from the US-based Ford Motors for US$ 2.3 billion. This was the biggest buy-out in the automobile space by an Indian company. Ford Motors Company (Ford) had acquired Jaguar from British Leyland Limited in 1989 for US$ 5 billion. After operating it for losses for few years, in June 2007, Ford had decided to divest the brands as a part of its restructuring strategy. Tata Motors was interested in acquiring JLR as it would reduce the company’s dependence on the Indian market and facilitate Tata Motor’s…

Strategy

Marriage Made in Heaven – Post Merger Integration

With the announcement of merger between Mahindra Satyam and Tech Mahindra yesterday, analysts are upbeat about the future prospects of the company. The combined entity will become the fifth-largest IT company in terms of market capitalization. It will cater to more industry verticals in comparison to the standalone basis. So it stands a good chance of getting bigger business and more clients and breaking into the top tier of Indian infotech companies. The benefits of the merged company will be made possible by a successful integration between the two companies. The company management foresees a period of six months for completion of the ‘complex’ post merger integration (PMI) process. The integration process may touch upon several areas. It will entail the integration of the MIS platforms of the two companies. It appears that Satyam had close to 190 MISs earlier, many of which were not integrated, resulting in manual intervention for transposing data from one system to another. According Mr Vineet Nayyar, Chairman of Mahindra Satyam, this left scope for discrepancies in many cases. The MIS systems at Mahindra Satyam will now be integrated with the Oracle- PeopleSoft platform being used at Tech Mahindra. The post merger integration of the…

Strategy

Building Blocks – Reliance Capital

Reliance Capital, one of India’s leading Non Banking Financial Companies, is in news for chalking out a profitable growth path and de-leveraging its balance sheet. Reliance Capital is a portfolio company with different lines of businesses such as asset management, life insurance, general insurance, broking and commercial finance. All these lines of businesses are individually headed by their respective CEOs, who in turn report to the Corporate CEO. In a recent news statement in the Business Standard, Sam Ghosh, CEO – Reliance Capital has said that his objective is to make each line of business profitable by using different strategies for different business. This statement leads to a very basic question. If each of the individual LOB is to become a profitable entity, what then would be the requirement for having a corporate portfolio company over these LOBs? Initially the corporate office served the purpose of capital infusion to the individual LOBs. However when these LOBs become profitable and self sustainable, capital infusion from corporate office may no longer be needed. One could wonder what purpose the corporate office will then serve. Will the corporate office simply be an overhead, with no revenues, removed from the individual businesses? Is this corporate…

Strategy

First in the Race – Apple and Samsung

Apple and Samsung are embroiled in several legal fights; both are contending for global leadership of smartphone and tablet market, with Samsung poised to surpass Apple in the race in 2012. Smartphones are an interesting example of a product category where the second or third movers have considerably learned from the experience of the product innovators. Long before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, IBM had released the first smart phone called Simon in 1993. Often the pioneers spend a lot of resources to come up with new and innovative products, demonstrate it to the users and test the market. In the meanwhile, newer companies that are more agile and are quick to see the opportunity, understand the product – market fit, learn from the mistakes of their predecessors, make a big bang entry and harvest the potential in the market already created by the earlier explorers. They survive and even make it big. Samsung, for example, has perfected the game of being the second mover. They study the market leader meticulously, copy every aspect of the market leader’s strategy in minute details, and further improvise on the execution of the strategy.  They end up not only in catching up,…

Strategy

Kodak – Image Blurred

On 19th Jan, 2012, investors woke up to the news of Kodak’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in US Bankruptcy Court in Lower Manhattan. This gives the company an automatic stay for 6 months during which it has protection from creditors and the time to reorganise itself. Founded in 1880, by George Eastman, Kodak became one of America’s most notable companies that established the market for camera film and then dominated the field. Neil Armstrong used a Kodak camera to take pictures on the Moon in 1969. Eighty films that have won Best Picture Oscars were shot on Kodak film and the phrase “Kodak moment” captured people’s imagination. Analysts feel that the firm’s late entry into the digital market is a key factor in its recent troubles. Although Kodak was one of the original inventors of digital photography in the mid 70s, it did not commercially begin to manufacture digital cameras for the next two decades due to the fear of the cannibalisation of film. As a result Kodak failed to keep pace with developments in the market and competitors steadily eroded its share of the market. Since the late 1990s, the sales of photographic film declined and the revenue…

Strategy

Material Girl and Mother Monster

Besides the obvious similarity in their profession and the huge popularity enjoyed by the two music artists, the other common point between Madonna and Lady GaGa is that they both have been chosen the subject of case study at B Schools.   I remember having an interesting start to the strategy class at London Business School with a slide on Madonna. Came to know that she started her career in 1982 and by 2008 she had amassed personal fortune of $300 million with a record sale of 220 million albums. Michael Jackson wondered what it was about her that made her so popular. Not a great dancer or a singer and yet she is always at your face. The answer lies in her positioning, efficiently leveraging and exploiting resources, employees, relationships (Prince, Warren Beatty, Sean Penn & Guy Ritchie) and other organizing skills such as building and using and even breaking alliances, creating controversy, manipulating press but above all ambition, discipline and self development. With an uncanny ability to spot trends, Madonna became known for her music and sex appeal in the period 1988 – 1995, turned to brazen sexuality and controversy in 1996 – 2002 and again reinvented herself…

Strategy

Bail me out – Kingfisher Airlines

Corporate India is abuzz with the news of KingFisher’s need for a bailout. Though the airlines company has  not yet defaulted, but with a debt exceeding Rs 7000 cr and losses mounting to thousands of crores, there is little doubt that the company is at the brink of default. Again, this is not the first time when the company has sought rescue. The airlines underwent a debt restructuring exercise in April 2011, when a consortium of 13 banks converted their debt into equity, paying a significant premium of 62% over the ruling market price of shares. In the event of a bankruptcy, the assets are liquidated and proceeds are paid to the creditors in the order of their seniority. The equity holders receive only the portion of the proceeds that is left over after paying off the creditors (which, for a company under distress can reduce to nothing). By agreeing to convert a part of their debt into equity, the banks helped the company to lower its interest payments and thus infused liquidity in the company. In the process, the banks increased their ownership stakes in the company while consenting to forego their interest income. After the conversion, the banks…

Animated Social Media Icons by Acurax Wordpress Development Company
%d bloggers like this: