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What’s the Secret to Turnaround Success? These Seven Nordic Companies Have the Answers

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“Comeback Kids” – the Nordic Region’s Top Success Stories – Reveal the Three Key Ingredients Needed for Sustained Breakthrough Performance in a Turnaround, According to a New Report from BCG

Oslo, February 26, 2018—Companies in search of successful turnarounds might want to look north—to one of the world’s most competitive business regions—for answers.

Seven Nordic firms—operating in a region where large-cap companies have vastly outperformed their global peers—reveal the three key ingredients needed for sustained breakthrough performance in a turnaround, according to The Nordic Comeback Kids; Turnaround Stars and Their Stories, a report from BCG being released today. The companies include such well-known names as Nokia and Danske Bank.

The lessons should be of urgent interest to business leaders around the world that operate in highly disruptive markets and need to know how to turn a company around. At any point, about a third of large US companies are experiencing a severe, two-year decline in their ability to create shareholder value. And about a third of those companies fail to recover the loss in value within the following five years. Most companies need to transform at least once during any five-year window, according to BCG research.

After suffering the effects of industry disruption, the global financial crisis, ill-fated investments, or internal issues, the Nordic companies charted a recovery course that ultimately propelled them to an average total shareholder return (TSR) of 41%. That’s nearly double the 21.4% median TSR achieved by Nordic large-cap companies and nearly four times that of the S&P Global 1200 (10.8%) for the five-year period ending December 2016. The companies experienced significant jumps in market cap (from 108% to 969%) and profitability (near doubling in some cases).

“These remarkable results have powerful implications for any companies that are currently struggling to grow their revenues or sustain profitability,” says Mikko Nieminen, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report.

Three Steps to Sustainable Success
The companies represent a cross-section of industries, including financial services, industrial products, beverages, and paper and packaging; many are household names globally.

The companies took a variety of steps, but all of their transformations had three elements in common. After quickly recognizing the signs of decline, leaders acted decisively, focusing first on funding the journey through quick wins. Once their organizations were stabilized, they strategically repositioned them for growth. Finally, they honed the agenda for lasting performance.

“This approach has had winning results among hundreds of companies throughout industry sectors and across the globe. We believe it is the only path to sustainable performance,” says Jesper Damm, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report.

Big Performance Gains, Big Prospects for Future Growth

Among the companies featured are:

  • Nokia: A once dominant player in the mobile phone market, Nokia was on the verge of bankruptcy several years ago after the market shifted. In a series of bold moves, the company completely reinvented itself, becoming a global leader in telecom infrastructure. Since its turnaround, Nokia has seen its stock price more than triple.
  • Danske Bank: Following the 2008 financial crisis, Danske Bank focused on boosting margin and streamlining operations. Then, to meet customers’ changing needs, the bank embarked on a big push to develop digital offerings. Between 2012 and 2016, market cap grew 108%, TSR soared (25%, versus the 19% of its Nordic bank peers). Today, Danske Bank is one of the top-rated banks for customer satisfaction.
  • Royal Unibrew: After a near brush with bankruptcy, this Danish beer maker parlayed a strategic acquisition into a corporate repositioning that enabled its rapid growth and expansion into new markets. Immediately, the company beefed up revenues and EBITDA. In the five years since launching its turnaround, Royal Unibrew has tripled its market cap, from DKK 5 billion to DKK 14.3 billion.
  • Husqvarna: In 2007, when the three-century-old Swedish company hit a slump, leaders embarked on a sweeping reorganization that included major improvements in manufacturing, sourcing, and the supply chain. By refocusing on the company’s core brands and reorganizing its core divisions by user segment, leaders ignited performance: EBIT nearly doubled, to 9%; revenues grew 19%; and market cap rose by 123%.

Nordic Comeback Kids follows BCG’s November 2017 report The Comeback Kids: Lessons from Successful Turnarounds, which profiles turnarounds from throughout the globe. The Nordic edition is also the first regional report in the Comeback Kids series.

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Tommy Nodland at +958 96 804 or nodland.tommy@bcg.com.

About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.

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The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) er et globalt konsulentfirma og verdens ledende rådgiver innen forretningsstrategi.  BCG har kunder innen privat og offentlig sektor og jobber også med veldedige og humanitære organisasjoner, der vi finner deres mest verdifulle muligheter, adresserer de mest kritiske utfordringene og transformerer bedriftene. Vår systematiske og spesialtilpassede fremgangsmetode kombinerer dyp innsikt i selskapers dynamikk og marked med tett samarbeid på alle nivåene i klientenes organisasjoner. Dette sørger for at klientene våre oppnår bærekraftige konkurransefortrinn, bygger mer kapable organisasjoner, og sikrer vedvarende resultater.  BCG ble grunnlagt i 1963 og har i dag 85 kontorer i 48 land. I Norge har BCG over 120 ansatte. For mer informasjon besøk: www.bcg.com

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