Balancing the Power Equation: Suzlon Energy Limited
Set in 2013, the case documents the challenges encountered by an emerging economy multinational enterprise (EMNE) when accessing R&D knowledge from its technologically superior subsidiary. Further, it shows the strategies that Suzlon, an Indian wind turbine manufacturer, adopted to catch up with global industry leaders. It tracks how Suzlon's astute and aggressive chairman, Tulsi Tanti, led the company to develop the capabilities to perform higher value added activities despite being a late industry entrant and one, moreover, from an emerging economy. The setting for the case is the global wind power industry, an emerging high-tech industry. The case thus shows that EMNEs are entering and succeeding not only in mature industries but also in newly emerging industries. By acquiring technologically superior firms, Suzlon made a mark in the global wind power industry dominated by European and American companies. While most of its acquisitions successfully served their purpose, Suzlon's 2007 acquisition of the German wind turbine manufacturer REpower did not go as planned. REpower was a technology-focused firm with expertise in large offshore turbines. Suzlon's goal was to access REpower's technology and combine it with Suzlon's low manufacturing cost and operational efficiency to gain competitive advantage over rivals. However, the expected knowledge transfer from this acquisition did not materialize as quickly as planned due to REpower's refusal to share its technology with its parent, Suzlon. The case primarily describes the challenges involved in this acquisition, amplified by the economic recession of 2008. It shows Tanti's attempts to make the acquisition work by balancing the "power" struggle between the Indian parent and the German subsidiary. Further, by tracking Suzlon right from its inception, it also describes Suzlon's catch-up strategies to emerge as a market leader in India and the fifth largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.
- Catch-up strategies of EMNEs
- EMNEs in emerging industries
- Intra-MNE knowledge sharing between EMNE headquarters and its technologically superior subsidiary.