Virgin Atlantic - Strategic Memo

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1998 was a rather trying year for Virgin group of companies. With the hopes for an economic upturn still remaining, it is recommended that the Virgin group approach and review, with great urgency, the matters outlined in this memo. Questions have been raised by many noted publications including the Economist and Marketing News regarding the current financial state, brand strength and future of the Virgin group. Many has quipped Mr. Branson and the Virgin group as over-exerting and extending company resources, capabilities and competencies beyond a controllable and unprofitable threshold. Many critics have pointed to Virgin’s brand losing goodwill and compromising core values due to the brand stretching. With over 20 holding companies and 200 operating companies under the Virgin group umbrella, it is due time that we reevaluate each business organization and fully utilize the upcoming year restructure the Virgin brand and gain a new outlook for the millennium. This memo is will focus on 4 sections - Internal audit, External Audit, Findings and Recommendations for the Virgin group. The thirteen (13) Virgin businesses included in this memo are Virgin Travel Group, Virgin Express, Virgin Retail, Virgin Our Price, Virgin Cinema, Virgin Hotels, Virgin Rail, Virgin Entertainment, V2 Music, Virgin Direct, Virgin Cola, Virgin Spirits and Victory Corporation.

I. Internal Audit
The Virgin brand name is highly respected, nonetheless, and the core constituent that drives the success of all the operating companies. Motivated by the group’s underlying focus on quality, innovation and differentiation efforts, the Virgin group has been very successfully in diversifying its businesses. However, at this moment, we are asked to pinpoint when diversification is too much. A brief core competency analysis shows that the Virgin group boasts core competencies that span across all the operating companies. Most remarkable, of course, is the influence of Mr. Branson’s unconventional management style, business philosophies, strategies and values. According to Mr. Branson, during his speech to the Institute of Directors in 1993, the key to success is “Staff first, then customers and shareholders.” This is the foundation of Virgin’s employees. Given creative freedom, full authority and motivation to build enterprises, all Virgin employees can run to become the next millionaire at Virgin. As always, a concise mission statement will guide the company in fulfilling its vision. This excerpt is taken from “We believe in making a difference.”

“In our customers' eyes, Virgin stands for value for money, quality, innovation, fun and a sense of competitive challenge. We deliver a quality service by empowering our employees and we facilitate and monitor customer feedback to continually improve the customer's experience through innovation.”

From this mission statement, Virgin sets the stage on what the brand want to provide for the customer – value for money, quality, innovation, fun and competitive challenge. Performance – Financial and Non-financial

With the complexity of Virgin group of companies and the habit of creating ad hoc financial reports, it is quite a task to summarize the financial performance. Each operating business is treated as a “stand-alone” entity and should be analyzed individually. For EBIT, Net Cash Flow and EVA for all included businesses, please refer to Table 1 in Appendix A. It is evident that some businesses are huge cash generators while others incur heavy losses. The following are a few highlights both financial and non-financial of the period of 1995 – 1997. •Virgin Travel

oSales increased 16.7%
oProfits increase to 40%
oStrongest profit generator!
Virgin Atlantic
oNet borrowings have amounted to $500 ₤ millions reaching debt equity of 4:1 (200%). This is higher than the main competitor, British Airways, who sits at 145%. oIncrease transatlantic market share and Virgin garnered...
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