Case Studies

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The Zuellig Family Foundation: A Bridge to a Better Future

by Assoc Prof Audrey Chia and Ms Mavis McAllister

Publication Date: 03/11/2016

In 2008, the chairman of the Zuellig Family Foundation and former Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the Philippines, asked the foundation’s president to take up the challenge of providing health care for the poor of the Philippines. The foundation’s president was particularly struck by the health inequities between the urban rich and the rural poor. The rich had a life expectancy above 80 and the poor below 60; the maternal mortality ratio was 15 among the rich but over 150 among the poor. The foundation’s president had spent much of his career working to bridge fundamental divides within Philippine society. Within four years, he led the foundation to complete a health care program with remarkable success in selected areas of the country, which transformed the inert and broken health care system into a living, thinking, intelligent network of stakeholders. A dignitary praised the program and asked the foundation’s president to roll out the program country-wide. Could the foundation succeed with such a broad undertaking while preserving the efficacy, soul, and sustainability of the program?

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Managing the Sibling Partnership: The Ong Group

by Assoc Prof Marleen Dieleman

Publication Date: 23/09/2016

In 2016, the oldest member of the family business The Ong Group was concerned about the ailing firm that he and his siblings were running. The business had been started in 1957 in Hong Kong by their father. After the death of the father and one of the siblings, the remaining family members needed a plan for the future of the business. Should all of the remaining siblings and their children be allowed to become directors in the family firm? How could they create a workable governance structure that would help the family make the right decisions? How would they put the business back on track?  

Nintendo: Game On!

by Ms Parul Purwar and Prof Andrew Karl Delios

Publication Date: 27/09/2016

In 2015, Nintendo—the iconic Japanese video game company—was faced with the decade-long challenge of responding to an industry that had changed in ways it had not anticipated. Under its new president, Nintendo had to contend with large-scale changes in the global gaming market. By not adapting to changing customer needs, Nintendo had lost the customer loyalty it had once enjoyed, as was evident from the decline in the number of units sold. It faced daunting challenges in the traditional console gaming segment from Sony and Microsoft, as well as more recent threats to its competitive position from the mobile gaming segment, which had become a preferred platform for game developers. Nintendo needed to decide how to revise its business model and strategies to move away from the decline that had been part of the company for years. Could the once-dominant Nintendo connect with its customers as it had done in the past, or was it better off as an acquisition target by a large entertainment company?

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Keppel Corporation's Buyout Offer for Keppel Land

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

Publication Date: 18/07/2016

On January 21, 2015, a trading halt was placed on the shares of Keppel Corporation (Keppel Corp) and Keppel Land Limited (Keppel Land). On January 23, 2015, Keppel Corp announced an offer to take its subsidiary, Keppel Land, private. At the time of the offer, Keppel Corp already owned 54.6 per cent of Keppel Land. The buyout offer used a two-tier pricing approach with a higher price paid if Keppel Corp acquired a threshold number of shares. Keppel Corp would have the right to receive any distribution that might be declared, paid, or made by Keppel Land on or after the purchase date. The offer was scheduled to close on March 12, 2015. On February 2, 2015, Keppel Land appointed KPMG Corporate Finance Pte. Ltd. as the financial adviser to the independent company directors regarding the offer. Minority shareholders of Keppel Land were interested in evaluating Keppel Corp’s offer and examining its motivations. This would require that they compute the premium and net present value of the company, as well as analyze the revenue and cost synergies of the buyout.

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TRIAS: Decision on Cable Ladder Production

by Assoc Prof Singfat Chu and Mr Leo Hermanto (EMBA student)

Publication Date: 22/02/2016

In July 2015, PT Trias Indra Saputra (TRIAS), Indonesia’s leading welded cable ladder producer, had just won its largest-ever tender bid. The news could get even better if it adopted alternative materials that were potentially more profitable. The production director was tasked with weighing whether TRIAS should fulfill the tender using its traditional supplier or the new materials. While more expensive, the new materials would cut out several production processes and associated costs. However, using the new suppliers presented significant risks. Only two mills, in Korea and Japan, supplied the appropriate material, and both companies presented different prices and import costs. Since TRIAS could be penalized if it did not supply the goods on time, the production manager also had to calculate the likelihood that each company could be delayed in supplying the order and how much that would reduce profits if it happened.

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Ramcides: Growing Pains for a Family-Run Business in an Emerging Market

by Ms Serene Chen (MBA student), Mr Juho Eino Ilmari Mikkonen (MBA student), Ms Valeria Barreca (MBA student) and Assoc Prof Trichy Krishnan

Publication Date: 05/07/2016

During the Holi festival in March 2012, the managing director of Ramcides, a family-run agrochemical business, was considering the path of the company that his eldest brother had started in 1973. Ramcides had a goal to achieve US$50 million in revenues by March 2014 and $130 million in the following five years. The managing director reflected on whether the company was on the right path towards achieving that objective. Much had changed since an infusion of private equity from a venture capital firm in 2008, but there was still much to be done. There was also the matter of the venture capital firm’s planned exit, and where the company would then secure additional funding. All the stakeholders were clear on promoting the future growth and success of Ramcides, but the next three to five years were a critical time of transition. What needed to be done to ensure continued success? The current manager viewed himself as the managing director in transition—the bridge between Ramcides’s history as a family-run firm and its future as a professionalized agrochemical company.

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Vibrance Kegel Device: Capturing Mindshare

by Dr Doreen Kum

Publication Date: 28/06/2016

The Vibrance Kegel Device (VKD) was an intra-vaginal device that helped women correctly identify and strengthen their pelvic floor muscles to prevent and improve health issues related to urinary incontinence, back pain, and sexual dysfunction. The VKD was owned and marketed by Bioinfinity, a three-person, start-up company based in Malaysia. Despite being an innovative and award-winning product, its marketing strategy was challenging as its target market was Malaysian women, the majority of whom were conservative and uncomfortable with discussing these types of medical issues. As a result, educating women and developing product awareness had been a struggle. Bioinfinity’s market development director needed to think of ways to grow the business. He was also contemplating whether the VKD was ready to compete in established markets such as Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

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Toyota's Innovative Share Issue (2015)

by Dr Emir Hrnjić

Publication Date: 27/06/2016  

In June 2015, the Toyota Motor Corporation’s annual shareholders’ meeting included a proposal regarding Toyota’s new share issue. Named “Model AA” shares after the company’s first passenger car, the shares would offer investors new hybrid securities. This proposal created a lot of controversy among existing shareholders. Although President Toyoda claimed that no one would be disadvantaged by these shares, it remained unclear how many shareholders had confidence in this assurance. The share issue, which would potentially comprise up to 5 per cent of Toyota’s total outstanding shares, would require the support of a two-thirds majority of shareholders. The new shares looked like ordinary shares with a “lock-up” period or preferred shares with voting rights. At the same time, Model AA shares resembled a convertible debt issue with voting rights (with a conversion ratio to be determined later). It was time to vote on the approval of Toyota’s new share issue, but the following questions lingered in the shareholders’ minds: What exactly was the difference between Model AA shares and ordinary shares? What was the difference between Model AA shares and bonds (or convertible bonds)? Finally, if the vote was approved, how should Model AA shares be priced?

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eHomemakers: Crossing Borders into Singapore

by Dr Wu Pei Chuan, Assoc Prof Albert Chu Ying Teo, Mr Ming Hao Wong (BBAH student)

Publication Date: 24/05/2016

The eHomemakers project was founded in 1998 to provide skills and employment for disadvantaged women in Malaysia. The women worked from home, weaving baskets out of recycled magazines from which they could generate income. This means of self-support was particularly beneficial to stay-at-home mothers and disabled women who were unable to work. By 2011, the enterprise was struggling for viability in Malaysia, which led the founder to consider crossing the border to Singapore to explore opportunities in that country to avoid having to give up on her social enterprise altogether.

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Uber: Competing as Marketing Leader in the US vs. Being a Distant Second in China

by Professor Jochen Wirtz and Professor Christopher Tang (UCLA Distinguished Professor and the holder of the Edward W. Carter Chain in Business Administration).

Publication Data: 15/04/2016
Uber allowed people to book and share rides in private cars via their smartphones. With its headquarters in the US, it operates in 60 countries and has a strong presence in the Asia–Pacific region. This case study explores Uber’s development and growth, first in the US, then its global expansion and subsequent foray into China. Despite enjoying international success with deep penetration in major cities, Uber flopped in the Chinese market. What were the reasons for its failure in China, given its spectacular performance in many other countries?

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