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Publication > Issue > Articles

Fixing it for the future

Summary

The Norsk Hydro strategic review was unveiled on 28 October. It proposes radical solutions to the problems which led to decling profit margins during the past 2-3 years. But are the solutions sufficiently radical tosatisfy those who have cast a critical eye on Hydro's operations? And has Hydro found effective solutions to the problems which beset its Agri division?

Abstract

For the second time in the present decade, Norsk Hydro has responded to disappointing financial results by undertaking a fundamental assessment ofgroup activities. The original review led to the HydroPLUS cost-cutting campaign in the mid-1990s, and earlier this year, the company announced its Agenda '99 programme, which was intended to boost group results by NKr 5.5 billion ($700 million) by 2001. This programme was the first stage in a more comprehensive strategic review, the results of which were revealed after several months' deliberations in Oslo on 28 October.

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Will the agri medicine work?

Summary

The strategic planners at Norsk Hydro have undertaken a radical review of group operations to assess their relative strengths and weaknesses, and to rectifY areas of under-performance.

Abstract

This assessment encompassed the Hydro corporate culture, which has prompted the latest round of organisational changes. Hydro identified the need to streamline lines of reporting and co-ordination within each core. The previous orga~isational structure vested bottom-line responsibility with divisional management, with the relevant members ofcorporate management having a co-ordinating function for the divisions that report to them. The new Hydro strategy gives the members of the corporate management responsibility for the strategic development and performance within their respective business areas. The goal is to improve the strategic and operational co-ordination within the business areas and provide a clearer

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Urgent Challenges

Summary

Spain's accession to the European Union in 1986 accelerated wholesale changes in virtually every economic field, and these were reflected in the country's agriculture and fertilizer industry. The momentum of change remains intense, as the EU's Agenda 2000 will have a further radical impact on Spanish agriculture. The fertilizer industry, meanwhile, continues to rationalise its activities in the wake of new ownership, notably in the long-established potash sector.

Abstract

T he transformation ofthe Spanish political, economic and social landscape in the past two decades has marked one of the most radical periods in the country's history. Spain is today a mainstream player in the European Union, in contrast with the long period of semi-isolation that characterised the Franco regime. Spanish agriculture has adapted accordingly, overcoming the limiting factors of exceptionally low rainfall and high aridity throughout much of the country. The shortage of water resources in the Mediterranean zones encouraged the rapid introduction and development of drip irrigation techniques. Today, Spain is a leading producer oforanges and citrus fruits, grapes, potatoes, as well as cereals. The statistics are certainly impressive, as production of wheat in the first halfof the 1990s averaged 4.5 million tla and that of barley 6 million t/a. In this period, around 5.3 million tla of potatoes were produc;ed, while production of grapes averaged 5.7 million ria, supplemented by oranges (2.7 million t/a), tomatoes (2.2 million t/a) and citrus fruit (2.2 million t/a).

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A Baltic red-letter day

Summary

The new Baltycka Baza Masowa (BBM) bulk and liquid fertilizer terminal is fully on stream, and represents a milestone in the Port of Gdynia's ongoing investment programme to ensure its competitiveness as a world-ranking distribution centre. FI was there to enjoy the opening celebrations.

Abstract

The flags were flying at the Polish port of Gdynia on 8 October, as the Baltycka Baza Masowa (BBM) bulk fertilizer terminal opened its doors to the world. The BBM terminal is a justifiable source of pride to its owners - Port Gdynia Holding S.A. and the Polish fertilizer producer, Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy S.A. - and the terminal emphasises the determination of its promoters to ensure that the Port of Gdynia becomes the Baltic's leading distribution centre for bulk cargoes.

The joint venture is the latest manifestation of the vigorously commercial policy which the Gdynia port authority has pursued since it was set up as an independent entity in 199 L, and the port continues to break new records in the volumes of traffic it handles. In 1998, the port attained an estimated throughput of around 9 million tonnes, and 1999 is expected to be another good year for business. (Fig. I) To ensure maximum flexibility, the Port has been divided into several autonomous limited companies, covering all aspects of activity, with Port Gdynia S.A. acting as sole shareholder. In addition to these wholly-owned subsidiaries, Port Gdynia has taken minority shareholdings in eight other companies, including the Baltic Container Lines shipping company.

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