This case is about a global catering, restaurant, and hospitality company, DO & CO, growing geographically with its existing businesses while also adding new brands to its portfolio. The company had $1 billion in revenues in 2015 from its three divisions: airline catering; international event catering; and restaurants, lounges, hotels, and retail. DO & CO had limitless opportunities to grow along three dimensions. It had operations in only 10 countries, while its competitors in airline catering were active in up to 50 countries. Thus, geographic expansion was one of the key growth options. DO & CO could also offer more to its existing clients in existing markets, providing vertical growth opportunities. It could also pursue an added-value approach by bringing new formats to existing markets. The last avenue of growth was more opportunistic and came from acquiring new brands in existing or new markets. However, the company had a policy of promoting from within, particularly with its chefs, and it took time to develop the necessary talent. Now DO & CO faced a decision: What type of growth should it pursue, and at what pace?
In December 2014, in preparation for the year-end board presentation, Hilmi Guvenal (PMD 1993), shareholder and CEO of Turkasset, and Ilker Yoney, COO, sat down to discuss Turkasset’s five- and ten-year strategic plans. Since taking leadership of the company in 2009, Guvenal had supervised Turkasset’s growth from a single office of 20 people into a nationwide firm with over 300 employees at six different branches. By 2014, Turkasset had made a name for itself as a data-driven, customer-friendly collection agency. Nonetheless, the Turkasset board felt the company had managed to establish itself a customer-centric niche in the Turkish AMC market. However, Turkasset’s overall collection rates on acquired portfolios remained largely on a par with those of the competition. So, board members had yet to confirm whether the culture of prioritizing the customer had led to increased shareholder value. The case describes the elements that help put together a customer-centric philosophy at Turkasset, an NPL management and collection agency in Turkey. The case describes the evolution the company went through in face of the pro- consumer era in financial markets and how it established itself a competitive angle through a customer-focus. The case provides the context for the students to identify the design elements underlying Turkasset’s operational design and helps them explore the link between customer focus in a collections business and employee training and empowerment, as well as analytics and IT. The case challenges the students to deliberate whether the amount collected through a soft-collections method over time justifies the investments in customer-centricity.
This case follows Qalaa Holdings, a successful Egypt-based private equity firm, and gives insight into the types of investments it pursued, its growth over time, and the limited partner base it had at hand. It also allows students to consider and debate whether the traditional private equity fund structure can be applied in Africa. In particular, the case focuses on one of Qalaa’s largest and most difficult greenfield infrastructure projects: Egyptian Refining Company. It tracks the project from its structuring stage in 2007, through the adverse periods of the global financial crisis and Arab Spring, until 2012. At this time, Hisham El-Khazindar, co-founder and managing director, had to decide on the fate of the project. While passionate about contributing to Africa’s development, he could not ignore the challenges: the sheer size and complexity of the project, the high financial stakes, and the region’s on-going unstable political environment.
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