Clarity and structure 30%
Report structure (clear and fit for purpose)
Flow of argument (leading to well supported conclusions)
Readability (effective use of language; freedom from intrusive errors)
Conceptual merits 30%
Inclusion of theory or tools appropriate to the report’s purpose
Insight into merits and limitations of theory or tools used
Effective, helpful application of theory or tools
Practical merits 30%
Depth and breadth of analysis
Insight into business situation
Recommendations sound and implementable
Hygiene factors 10%
Submitted as specified
Freedom from sloppy referencing and in-text attribution
Freedom from errors of information and interpretation
All sources used must be properly referenced (including in-text attribution). When you take an idea from another source, cite the source in the text. If you choose to use the exact words of another source, put them in quotation marks and cite the source next to the quotation.
Strategy Report: Solid Energy
Solid Energy is one of several State-owned Enterprises (SoEs) that the Government is considering for partial privatisation. The majority of its revenues derive from coal mining for domestic and export sale, with revenue-generating activity also in wood pellet and biodiesel production. Strategically, this is an interesting time for the company, not only because of the share sale proposal. Its business is cyclical, with current pressures, including reduced coal demand in China and a high NZ$ exchange rate, causing the company to forecast a profit downturn. The industry can be operationally challenging: issues of interest include managing conservation concerns on mine sites (e.g. Stockton snails) and safety concerns (noting, for example, that Solid Energy has acquired Pike River Mine). Company reports claim that longer term prospects are good, but the prospects for different income streams depend on, inter alia, international energy prices and carbon-emission legislation and pricing.
Making full use of the relevant information available in the public domain, write a report that draws on basic strategy principles to present an independent critical analysis to the corporate management team [‘the client’] that provides an informed outside perspective to guide strategy making. In the event of major new developments close to the submission date, you may specify a cut-off for taking in new information.
As far as possible, write the report to justify a professional fee paid by the client. Design the content and headings according to the purpose of the report and the issues you decide to prioritise. Include the following generic elements in the report:
• Executive summary
• Purpose and scope: context of the report and what it is about.
• Financial situation: operating performance, balance sheet, overall returns, trends.
• External operating environment: use analysis techniques to evaluate trends in the firm’s industry and market; opportunities or threats to the business.
• Internal resources/competitive advantages: use analysis techniques to evaluate the most significant strategic strengths or weaknesses in the business.
• Evaluation of key issues: bring together the results of your analysis to make the case for what you think are the main ongoing and evolving strategic issues.
• Recommended strategies: draw on the body of the report. Mention any critical risks faced by the business or associated with specific strategies. For this assignment, you do not need to provide for implementation.
Seek to support your conclusions by analysis, and avoid relying on assertion. Include information only where it supports analysis. In part you will have to draw on views expressed by managers, analysts, and journalists but it is essential to recognise them as opinions only, and potentially politically motivated.
Maximum length: 8000 words for the whole submission including appendices (reference list can be extra). Please state the word count at the beginning of the report.
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