United Kingdom

Improving or exiting a Joint Venture 

 

 Joint Ventures  Rescuing failing or underperforming businesses requires a specialised skill set and approach. In an alliance or joint venture the requirements are even greater - you typically have less control, more stakeholders and greater complexity to manage. Our team of Joint Venture (JV) transformation specialists is uniquely qualified to help. We combine our international JV insight and leading practice with deep transformational (C-level) expertise, as well as technical and diplomatic skills. This is designed to ensure the right approaches are quickly identified and implemented sensitively (even where an exit may be required).
 

Common impediments to transforming / re-setting an underperforming JV

  • Identifying a plan for turning around the underlying business that all parties can buy into.
  • Appreciating how re-setting a JV is different from turning around a wholly owned business.  This includes the importance of fit-for-purpose operational governance procedures designed to ensure it is a success.
  • Distinguishing symptoms from causes to establish a dispassionate view of why it has really gone wrong.
  • Persuading partners(s) that things need to change (without destabilising the relationship).  This includes instances there may already be concerns or trust issues between the parties.

Recent projects and insights

Importance of leadership

In a recent energy JV turnaround, an inexperienced CEO had been put in charge of a new joint operation with staff drawn from very different cultures. In the absence of strong leadership, an environment of distrust developed, with each partner blaming the other for poor commercial results. Our intervention has led to a jointly agreed plan, involving recognition by senior stakeholders that new and experienced leadership is required.

Improve – to sell?

A major manufacturer was looking at a two year start-up delay, major quality issues and customers demanding compensation, but had invested US$600m. We were invited to diagnose the situation and identify specific, actionable areas for improvement. Once these were turned into a plan and implemented, the business achieved 90% production before eventually being sold successfully.

JV advice or marriage guidance?

When a joint venture has broken down, we often find ourselves spending more time on emotional responses than on business issues, especially in cultures which highly value dignity or a legacy to hand on. Just like a separated couple, partners often cannot hold a commercial business discussion until they have first offloaded their resentment and upset. However strong the contractual exit provisions and protections, these cannot help if the parties aren’t talking. Such deadlock can be broken by an independent “go between”, as in one recent Asian example, where our clients ultimately achieved their objectives, building a new and valued business relationship outside the (formally exited) JV.

Impact of ineffectual Management

We were recently engaged (jointly) by the owners of a large Middle Eastern oil & gas JV to develop a turnaround plan to restore profitability in their underperforming joint business interest.  We quickly discovered that challenges in the business were at least partially due to ineffectual Management who had diverted significant energy away from the business itself in favour of trying to appease the disparate needs of both owners (i.e. their primary focus was keeping the peace).  Our involvement helped create much needed clarity of purpose for Management.  In just over a month, we helped develop an actionable turnaround plan that was endorsed by both owners.  Equally important, we were able to tactfully expose the underlying issues and mistrust between the parties which helped form the basis for a sensible JV reset and a better functioning management team.

Contact

Dr Marc Van Grondelle

Dr Marc van Grondelle

Head of the Global Joint Ventures Practice

+44 20 7694 4603

Email Marc

  

                 

Rob Ware

Rob Ware

Restructuring

+44 20 7694 3629

Email Rob

 

 

  

                  

Rob Ware

Jon Slatkin

Restructuring

+44 20 7311 4806

Email Jon

 

 

  

"JV staff often know what’s wrong, but lack the motivation to speak out.  As with any business, leadership and a compelling vision can inspire loyalty and drive performance in a JV.”

 

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