.. for the Patras operation was US$15 million. The equipment manufacturer, F.L. Smidth of Copenhagen would finance 40 percent of capital expenditures, and another 20 percent would be financed through the National Investment Bank for Industrial Development, SA. The remaining 60 percent of Patras shares would be equity, of which 75 percent of shares would be owned by Yankee, and 25 percent of Patras shares would be owned by Titan.
The international division manager of Yankee, Bob Walbecker, dealt with the Manourpoulos family, who were the owners of Titan. After establishing the connection with Titan, Mr. Walbecker continued to establish good rapport between his division and Titan. Ten days after preliminary negotiations between the two parties Mr. Walbecker was assembling a feasibility team in Denver, which was Yankees’ domestic headquarters. The team consisted of a market analyst, an accountant, a geologist, a civil engineer, and Mr.
Walbecker, who managed the study. For each American there was a Greek counterpart that translated and disclosed all information known to Titan. After four years from the start of the study Yankee expected that personnel within the subsidiary would be able to handle any further developments. Preparing for the in country phase of the study is perhaps more important than the actual time spent in the country conducting research. Before departing for Athens with his team, Mr. Walbecker prepared an outline for each day’s activities for the entire study period.
He also had the individuals make a contact list, which contained a bank, an accounting firm, a lawyer, an equipment supplier, the embassy, the ministry, as well as industry source phone and cable numbers. Another important point that was covered was that Mr. Walbecker made maps available to the team of the location, and showed documentary films discussing the political and economical situation of the country as well. Shots and medical supplies were also made available and taken with the team. Language was also a concern to the accuracy of the study. Based on this fact personnel were required to attend classes on the language even if they had some prior knowledge.
After sufficiently preparing the personnel for the trip, Mr. Walbecker departed with the team for Athens. For the first four days the team was allowed to orient themselves to their surroundings. There are several reasons why the team was given this time to relax.
First, they had to recover from the long flight. Physical and mental stamina were at a low-point when the team left the plane. Secondly, the change in surroundings has an effect on the emotions of a person. Third, it allows for the creation of a team from a group of individuals. A sense of camaraderie can be established during this free time.
By the beginning of the week the team was eager and ready to start work on the study. Using the contact list and each individuals daily schedule the team was sent about to gather information. From each contact on the prepared list each member was expected to gain at least two additional contacts. While meeting with contacts the team was asked to differentiate between opinion and fact.
This is because misinformation gathered by inexperienced people is very abundant. Fortunately for Walbecker the team he had assembled was able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant material. During the study the team was also required to take notes every day. They were also encouraged to go outside of the metropolitan area in order to gain a better feeling of the country and it’s people.
Upon return of the team from Athens, Walbecker concluded the following: the rate of return would be 16 percent, the partners had good integrity and intentions, the political situation was not extremely stable, the ownership option was good for other projects if the Patras investment was slow, and there were no technical or market developments evident to slow down progress in construction. From these findings Walbecker had to persuade the Board to agree to the venture. He concentrated on the soundness of the venture, the reliability of the partners, and the advantages of Greece. Using market analyses and forecasts, an audit of Titan’s financial affairs, the geological report, plant layout and consolidated capital estimates, and a business-environment report, which covered the political situation, the economy, partner evaluation, and an outlook on the country’s currency-the Drachma-Mr. Walbecker was prepared to start finalizing the report.
Concluding the report were the financial details on the US$4.5 million equity needed by Yankee. Before giving a formalized presentation to the Board and other important associates, Mr. Walbecker had informal discussions over breakfast with the three top executives at Yankee about the project. The reason for this was not only to give the executives a briefing about the information that was gathered, but also to get an idea as to result of the vote on the project.
After the formal presentation, the Board was given one month to decide on accepting or rejecting the project. At the conclusion of one month’s time from the formal presentation the Board’s vote revealed the acceptance of the project. This example should have revealed the importance of the site selection, gathering, and transmission processes used in conducting a feasibility study. The main point of conducting a feasibility study is to find the intricate details which are necessary to make the right choice for expansion. The example presented above is just one particular situation. In trying to maintain brevity, the paper could not possibly include all of the suggested actions that management should take in every situation.
Management must be able to adjust and plan a course of action to find the details of their particular situation that are essentials to making a viable decision. As an overall idea in dealing with foreign counterparts one should be objective in judgment and abundant in knowledge of the person’s/people’s backgrounds. Knowledge is a valuable resource when expanding operations. Conducting venture analysis is one way in which a company can perceive how the investment will contribute to future operations.
Table 1: List of statistics that portray the market situation. Essential Market Statistics: 1. Population by language, religion, ethnic groups 2. Population by age, income, major occupations 3.
Population by regions and centers-with growth rates 4. Number of households and rate of creation 5. Percentage of households with car, radio, refrigerator, TV set, washing machine, running water, electricity. 6.
Per capita disposable income (per capita national income less taxes and savings) broken down by region 7. Personal and household consumption pattern; changes over ten years. 8. Government purchases of goods and services, broken down by product groupings and buying agency.
9. Type, number, and purchasing of state enterprises 10. Imports, and exports, by product and by origin or destination 11. Statistics on market for your product (internal production plus imports less exports) * Source: Penetrating the International Market, p.27-8. Table 2: Diagram showing the timing of project events over a 12 month period. Months Actions 0 Project received by outside party 1 2 3 Preliminary evaluation by company completed 4 5 Initial screening in country completed 6 Decisions to conduct study, employ intelligence service 7 Departure of study team for country 8 9 Completion of field work 10 11 Completion of Report 12 decision by Board on acceptable terms * Source: Multinational Management, Venture Analysis.
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