Bata India's HR Problems


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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB001
Case Length : 06 Pages
Period : 1990 - 2001
Organization : Bata India Ltd.
Pub Date : 2001
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India
Industry : Shoes and Apparel

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Introduction

For right or wrong reasons, Bata India Limited (Bata) always made the headlines in the financial dailies and business magazines during the late 1990s. The company was headed by the 60 year old managing director William Keith Weston (Weston). He was popularly known as a 'turnaround specialist' and had successfully turned around many sick companies within the Bata Shoe Organization (BSO) group.

By the end of financial year 1999, Bata managed to report rising profits for four consecutive years after incurring its first ever loss of Rs 420 million in 1995. However, by the third quarter ended September 30, 2000, Weston was a worried man. Bata was once again on the downward path. The company's nine months net profits of Rs 105.5 million in 2000 was substantially lower than the Rs 209.8 million recorded in 1999. Its staff costs of Rs 1.29 million (23% of net sales) was also higher as compared to Rs 1.18 million incurred in the previous year.

In September 2000, Bata was heading towards a major labour dispute as Bata Mazdoor Union (BMU) had requested West Bengal government to intervene in what it considered to be a major downsizing exercise.

Background Note

With net revenues of Rs 7.27 billion and net profit of Rs 304.6 million for the financial year ending December 31, 1999, Bata was India's largest manufacturer and marketer of footwear products. As on February 08, 2001, the company had a market valuation of Rs 3.7 billion. For years, Bata's reasonably priced, sturdy footwear had made it one of India's best known brands.

Bata sold over 60 million pairs per annum in India and also exported its products in overseas markets including the US, the UK, Europe and Middle East countries. The company was an important operation for its Toronto, Canada based parent, the BSO group run by Thomas Bata, which owned 51% equity stake.

The company provided employment to over 15,000 people in its manufacturing and sales operations throughout India. Headquartered in Calcutta, the company manufactured over 33 million pairs per year in its five plants located in Batanagar (West Bengal), Faridabad (Haryana), Bangalore (Karnataka), Patna (Bihar) and Hosur (Tamil Nadu)...

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