Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Sometimes you simply can't squeeze more growth for your shareholders

There are many benefits of being a public listed company but there are some drawbacks too. One of them is the need to please shareholders and analysts to generate profit growth.

In some situations, you just can't squeeze any growth due to the economy.  Sometimes the market is saturated and in other cases, the market may be too competitive.

Clearly the recent furore over Maxis illustrates this point. I'm sure they are trying to generate growth, but in these times, in their market and the current mobile penetration rate, maybe it's not feasible.

What happened is that they tried to entice new customers with better deals but still tried to protect revenue from their old, loyal customers, leading to major dissatisfaction.

In the US, Valeant tried to grow revenue by increasing the price of drugs in an unreasonable manner, leading to action by the enforcement authorities.

When you try to set KPIs based on certain aggressive targets, you encourage short term behavior that may be detrimental in the long run.

In some cases, it may lead to permanent damage, while in others, cause negative growth, which is precisely the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

Sometimes there is just no growth to be had and the top management and shareholders may just have to accept the reality.

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