The Rise and Fall of Great Companies: Courtaulds and the Reshaping of the Man-Made Fibres Industry
This book is about a company which pioneered a major new industry, failed to build on that success, and ended up being taken over and broken up. By comparing this firm with its competitors in the same industry, the book sheds light on one of the hardest of all managerial challenges: what companies can do when their industry goes through a period of turbulence, forcing them to change direction, learn new skills, and perhaps abandon businesses on which they have relied for many years. Courtaulds was a British company which was once the world's leading producer of man-made fibres. It failed to adapt to the crisis in that industry that began in the mid-1970s, and lost ground to the point where, 25 years later, it could no longer sustain itself as an independent company. The crisis stemmed from the shift of textiles, clothing, and man-fibre production to low-wage countries, and above all to China. The book looks in some detail at the other companies - European, American, and Japanese - which had a big commitment to man-made fibres in the earlier post-war decades and, like Courtaulds, faced difficult adjustment problems in the closing years of the 20th century. Why did some of them handle the crisis better than Courtaulds? In answering this question the book looks both at decisions taken by individual managers and at the national context in which they were operating. Institutional differences between countries, notably in the role of shareholders and the financial markets, played an important role in determining which companies survived and which did not.
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Acordis acquired acquisitions acrylic ﬁbre aerospace Akzo Nobel American Asahi Kasei BASF beneﬁted bought brands British capacity carbon ﬁbre Celanese cellulosic cellulosic ﬁbres cent chairman chemical companies chief executive coatings company’s competition Corporation cotton Courtaulds Textiles Courtelle demerger difﬁcult diversiﬁed DuPont Enka Europe European fabrics factory ﬁbre plants ﬁbre producers Fibres ﬁbres business ﬁlament ﬁlm ﬁnancial ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬁve Germany Grimsby Hoechst Hogg Huismans ICI’s International Paint investment investors Japan Japanese joint venture Kearton Kelheim knitwear later Lenzing lyocell man-made ﬁbres industry manufacturer Marks & Spencer merger mills Monsanto Monteﬁbre nylon operations pharmaceuticals polyester polymer polypropylene portfolio private equity ﬁrm production proﬁtable proﬁts rayon retailers Rhone-Poulenc Samuel Courtauld Sara Lee sell share shareholders Snia Snia Viscosa sold spinning strategy supplier synthetic ﬁbres takeover Taylor Teijin Tencel textile industry textiles and clothing tonnes Toray Twaron viscose viscose staple Viyella