Expanding a business through skilful acquisition
A Rolls-Royce case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Rolls Royce 7 Image 1The name ‘Rolls-Royce’ has always been associated with high quality products. Most people probably link the company with high quality aero-engines and motor cars. Rolls-Royce still makes aero-engines, but no longer manufactures cars. Instead, the company has transferred its core strengths and expertise into other markets in which it has the greatest competitive strengths. These are the civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy markets.

Strategies are the means by which organisations achieve their objectives. Strategies are long-term plans. Strategic implementation is the process of putting these plans into action. Rolls-Royce’s strategy is to secure and retain the leading position in its key markets. The company recognises that an increasing number of customers want to deal with as few suppliers as possible in order to reduce purchasing and search costs. Therefore, customers look for suppliers who are able to meet the full range of their needs with the highest level of service.


Rolls Royce 7 Image 7Rolls-Royce has already built a strong, mature business in defence aerospace and is well placed in future programmes. Over the past three years the company has won an average of 30% of the civil aerospace market by value. However, aerospace is a maturing market, so it makes sense for Rolls-Royce to look for new opportunities for expansion. This case study focuses on how Rolls-Royce has built a strong presence in marine markets. It has done this through a process of take-over, consolidation and by focusing on developing competitive advantage in this sector. Competitive advantage has resulted from the company making leading edge improvements, including a strong focus on meeting the green challenge.

In 1999, Rolls-Royce acquired Vickers Plc. Vickers was already a key player in the marine market, providing leading edge marine equipment. The take-over demonstrated Rolls-Royce’s strategic intent to become the dominant player in the marine market. This acquisition gave the company a range of leading edge businesses.

Rolls-Royce carried out extensive market research and conducted detailed financial analyses into the marine market. This research identified a clear opportunity; an opportunity that Rolls-Royce has backed-up through significant investment in this growth area. The strategy of expanding in the marine sector should be seen as part of an overall strategy of seeking to grow the business of Rolls-Royce by searching out the most suitable opportunities for global expansion and market leadership.

Rolls-Royce | Expanding a business through skilful acquisition