Coopers Creek, established in 1982, became one of New Zealand’s more successful medium-sized wineries by following a strategy of resource leveraging via networks of co-operative relationships with other New Zealand winemakers in the domestic and export markets. This strategy allowed Andrew Hendry, the managing director, to consciously manage the growth of the company to retain the benefits of small size. However, with increasing globalisation of the wine industry, the changing nature of export markets, the early maturity of the New Zealand industry and the constrained supply facing New Zealand wine makers, Andrew Hendry was faced with the decision of how to position a smaller company for the future. He had to decide whether the network-based strategies that served the company so well continued to be appropriate under conditions of industry concentration, increasing competition and emerging globalisation. (Robbins S, 2006)
1.1 The NZ wine industry
When Andrew Hendry established Coopers Creek, the New Zealand environment was highly regulated. By 1984, the New Zealand government had initiated a programme of deregulation, which included devaluation of the New Zealand currency, exchange rate flotation and general anti-inflationary measures. (Porter M, 2001) The opening of New Zealand’s domestic market meant that businesses had to improve their efficiency substantially over a short period. The agricultural sector sought out new markets, to replace the loss of their traditional dependence on the UK market with its increasing commitment to its European trading partners, and new products, reflecting a growing awareness that much of New Zealand’s exports were of a commodity nature. This period saw growing exports to Australia, the United States, Japan and the rest of Asia and exports of predominantly sheep meat and dairy produce being accompanied by more fresh fruit, venison and wine. A further response to fiercer competition at home and in overseas markets was an increasingly strong focus on quality, a case in point being the New Zealand wine industry.
The New Zealand wine industry accepted the consequences of the liberalisation of the domestic economy and recognised the need to understand how on-going changes in the international economic environment affected its prosperity and how to plan accordingly. Building from a low international base in the 1980s ($4.5 million in exports in 1987), New Zealand wine exports achieved phenomenal growth and accounted for $168 million in 2007, comfortably exceeding the $100 million by 2007 target set in 1999. The UK market was the most important export market for the industry in 2007, and at $84 million it accounted for around 50.22 per cent of total exports by value and 54.28 per cent by volume. Europe accounted for 66 per cent of exports with 85 per cent of that going to the UK. Four large firms, namely Corbans, Montana, Nobilo and Villa Maria, dominated the wine industry in New Zealand in 1999. The following year, Montana purchased Corbans and Nobilo was bought by BRL/Hardy of Australia. Between them, these large firms accounted for around 80 per cent of all exports in 2007, with another 17 medium-sized companies, of which Coopers Creek was one, handling 16 per cent in combination. For the most part, industry participants exported between 30 and 35 per cent of their production, but a few producers had much higher export intensity. (Wheelen, 2006)
2.0 Key Issues
The key issues are: (Study Guide, 2008)
Despite entering early maturity, coopers creek remained constrained by issues of supply. (2)
The cost of new land for grape planting was rising and more previously marginal land became economic to grow on, the problem was still one of access to capital for these resources. (3)
A possible over supply of grapes in New Zealand, which could lead to heavy discounting. (4)
A contraction in ownership within distribution companies in New Zealand and...
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