Case Studies

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bKash: Financial Technology Innovation for Emerging Markets

by Assoc Prof Ishtiaq P Mahmood, Assoc Prof Marleen Dieleman and Mrs Narmin Tartila (former MBA student)

Publication Date: 28/06/2017

The founder of bKash Limited (bKash), a successful mobile financial services (MFS) model pioneered in Bangladesh, built the company from scratch, targeting services at the lower socioeconomic segment of society and eventually acquiring 26 million customers. bKash has had a positive impact on the lives of countless poor people and has gained worldwide recognition for its innovative business model. The model required close collaboration with telecommunications operators, banks, non-governmental organizations, and regulators. In particular, the Bangladesh central bank supported the venture, allowing experimentation in MFS to address poverty through financial inclusion. By the end of 2016, the founder was concerned about future regulations and looking to strengthen the foundation of his disruptive business to make it more robust. How could the company continue to grow while maintaining its financial inclusion objective?


Internships and Career Decisions for Talented Young Graduates

by Dr Wu Pei Chuan and Ms Eugenia Lee (BBA Hons student)

Publication Date: 16/05/2017

Three students joined the NUS Business School some years ago with very different backgrounds; as they were about to graduate, they started to reflect on their experiences at the University and how it prepared them for their first jobs. Throughout their student lives, they had taken on a combination of internships, leadership roles and case competitions, and in the process, they had developed different career aspirations. However, the future was still uncertain as they struggled with making momentous decisions regarding their careers. With so many options and possibilities before them, what was the 'best choice' for these individuals?


Neptune Orient Lines: Valuation and Capital Structure

by Assoc Prof Ruth S.K. Tan, Dr Zsuzsa R. Huszar and Dr Weina Zhang

Publication Date: 29/03/2017

Neptune Orient Lines Limited (NOL) was started as Singapore’s national shipping line to facilitate industrial development and support the economy. The CMA CGM Group (CMA CGM) had acquired 67 per cent of NOL from Temasek Holdings Private Limited for SG$2.3 billion or $1.30 per share—a 6 per cent premium over the last closing price. In 2016, CMA CGM sought to acquire the remaining shares at the same price so that it could delist NOL and take it private. In order to delist, the company would need to acquire another 23 per cent of shares to hit the acceptance threshold of 90 per cent. Should the remaining shareholders sell their shares at $1.30 per share, or hold out for a better price? Should bondholders of CMA CGA and NOL be concerned about the acquisition?

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Food Empire: Valuation and Investment

by Assoc Prof Ruth S.K. Tan, Dr Zsuzsa R. Huszar and Dr Weina Zhang

Publication Date: 09/03/2017

Food Empire Holdings Limited (Food Empire) was a food and beverage brand owner and manufacturer of instant beverage products, frozen convenience food, confectionery, and snacks. Its main markets were Russia and Ukraine. When the political tensions between Russia and Ukraine erupted and their currencies depreciated in 2014, Food Empire’s bottom line was badly affected: its share price dropped 71 per cent in 30 months. In light of these developments, investors were not sure if they should sell their investments in Food Empire. Using financial statement analysis and various valuation concepts—including net tangible assets, dividend discount models, and peer multiples—it was hoped that the best course of action could be determined.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Multistrada Agro International: Non-Market Strategy in Indonesia

by Assoc Prof Marleen Dieleman

Publication Date: 18/01/2017

In 2016, a personal threat was made against the managing director of Multistrada Agro International, an Indonesian industrial forestry firm. The permits for the firm’s new rubber plantation overlapped with an existing palm oil plantation and the activities of local villagers, and also drew concern from outsiders who claimed to have rights over the land or wished to protect the environment. In sum, the venture altered the delicate balance of conflicting local interests. The managing director knew that unless she managed to work with local stakeholders, she would never be able to successfully operate large-scale rubber plantations. How should she handle this latest threat? What tactics could she use to deal with a variety of stakeholders with divergent interests?

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Alibaba's Bonds Dilemma: Location, Timing, and Pricing

by Dr Emir Hrnjić

Publication Date: 21/02/2017

In 2014, Alibaba—the Chinese e-commerce giant who, in September 2014, completed the largest initial public offering (IPO) in New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) history—was preparing itself for an additional round of capital fundraising. This time, Alibaba focused its efforts on a new, large bond issue. Its chief executive officer would lead Alibaba’s finance team in meetings with investors in Hong Kong, Singapore, and London to gather information about this pending bond issue. Although Alibaba was listed on the NYSE, an overwhelming majority of its revenues originated in China. Most U.S. investors had not heard of Alibaba until just a few months prior to its IPO in September 2014. Also, being a high-tech company, Alibaba was subject to the potential for large swings in valuations typical for the industry. Fluid valuations and matters related to country risk premia meant pricing the bond issue was going to be a challenge. How would Alibaba estimate the bonds’ pricing? Further, how should the firm determine the location and timing of the new bond issue?

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Illinois Tool Works: Retooling for Continued Growth and Profitability

by Assoc Prof Nitin Pangarkar

Publication Date: 30/01/2017

In June 2016, Illinois Tool Works (ITW), a fortune 500 manufacturing company in the United States, was at a critical juncture in its evolution. The company had identified a number of lofty goals in its 2015 annual report to be achieved by the end of 2017. These expectations included reaching over 200 basis points in organic growth above the market, a 23 per cent operating margin, a 20 per cent after-tax return on invested capital, 100 per cent free cash flow as a percentage of net income, and 12 to 14 per cent shareholder returns. Riding on the success of 2015, these targets had seemed achievable based on ITW’s performance and operational excellence. However, the U.S. and world economies faced a variety of challenges related to political uncertainty in the United States due to a presidential election and also in Europe because of the United Kingdom’s recent decision to exit the European Union. Additional challenges such as continued weaknesses in emerging markets and volatile currencies also affected ITW's outlook. ITW’s acquisition strategy had yielded excellent results over the past few years by effectively using diversification and decentralization strategies in its growth, but there was considerable uncertainty about achieving future goals. ITW had to make important choices about resource allocation across product groups based on their past performance and future prospects. The CEO also had to make appropriate decisions for continued superior performance.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Glints: Linking Youths and Jobs

by Assoc Prof Sarah L. Y. Cheah, Prof Vivien K. G. Lim and Mr Norvin Chan (LLB graduated student)

Publication Date: 19/01/2017

Established in 2013, Glints was an online job search service for new graduates, marketing itself as “LinkedIn for youth.” The Singapore-based company was founded by three 21-year-olds who chose to put their university education on hold and forfeit their scholarships in order to pursue their entrepreneurial ambitions. Using the lean start-up approach, Glints pivoted its business model several times before finding a suitable position in a resegmented job-search market. As a young company, Glints’ biggest challenge was growth. Having raised seed capital of SG$475,000 from its investors, Glints was expected to sustain its exponential growth in revenue base and the number of subscribers. Its young co-founders had to identify ways to make that growth happen.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Adnike Pharmaceuticals: A Foreign CEO in China

by Ms Parul Purwar and Prof Andrew Karl Delios

Publication Date: 20/12/2016

In 2012, the incoming general manager for AdNike Pharmaceutical’s operations in China faced a major challenge. AdNike was a leading global pharmaceutical company that had been in China for over 40 years. However, its performance in the country had been worse than expected. In the most recent half-decade of its operations in China, AdNike faced a changing regulatory environment that was becoming more challenging to navigate. Also, local competitors were making significant inroads into AdNike’s business. The new leader was charged with reinvigorating the company so it could achieve the growth and performance that was originally intended. Despite being new to China and not speaking any Mandarin, he had to determine a new strategic direction for AdNike while balancing the needs of external and internal stakeholders.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


Tiger Airways: Buyout Offer from Singapore International Airlines

by Assoc Prof Ruth S.K. Tan, Dr Zsuzsa R. Huszar and Dr Weina Zhang

Publication Date: 13/12/2016

In January of 2016, Singapore International Airlines Group (SIA) announced that it had secured more than 90 per cent stake in Tiger Airways Holdings Limited (Tigerair), and would take Tigerair private. Once the buyout offer closed on February 19, trading in Tigerair’s shares would be suspended because the free float had fallen below the minimum 10 per cent threshold. Tigerair had been suffering losses amounting to more than SG$600 million from 2012 to 2015. When SIA initiated the buyout offer, Tigerair’s shareholders wanted to use the discounted cash flow model, the discounted dividend model, and relative valuation to determine whether the buyout was a fair deal.

For NUS Business School: (Faculty only)
To obtain a free copy of the case, please contact Ms Kwok Siew Geok (bizksg@nus.edu.sg)


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