Impact from business environment and corporate strategy on financial structure
For decades companies had focused their efforts only on quantitative results, rather than on the quality of profits generated. However, the need to readjust to a more volatile business environment and the new strategic directions followed by companies made financial structure an issue of primary importance. Therefore the research question how do business environment and corporate strategy impact financial structure is formulated and the case study of Electrolux, SCA, and Volvo is designed, in order to identify the effects during the last thirty years. In the first part of the thesis, a brief description of each of the three concepts is given and their interrelationship is shown. Referring to the business environment, two sets of factors are mentioned; macro environmental factors, which focus on economic, technological and political variables, and micro environmental factors, which refer to the industrial structure and globalisation. Then the concept of corporate strategy is discussed by presenting two different schools of thought, explicit and incremental strategic planning, and finally,the concept of financial structure is elaborated by analysing issues like the capital structure and the principal-agent theory. In continuation, the thesis is dedicated to the presentation of the business environment, corporate strategy and financial structure of Electrolux for the examined period, followed by another part, where the impacts on the financial structure are analysed. The same procedure is repeated for SCA and Volvo. In general, most of the findings indicate that business environment impacts financial structure mostly in economic terms, while the results from corporate strategy, usually linked to organic growth,acquisitions, related and unrelated diversification, and divestments,are different in the three companies. The determining factor is the existence or not of aggressiveness and opportunism, when implementing untested strategies.
Göteborg University. School of Business, Economics and Law