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Case study

A holding company lets go to grow

We helped a diversified conglomerate find new business opportunities, define strategies for the holding company's smaller businesses, and clarify the strategic and operational role of the center.

  • min read

At a Glance

  • 12% Percentage point increase in ROIC

The Story

The Situation

HoldingCo*, a large Latin American conglomerate, owned many businesses in sectors that included fast-moving goods, packaging and real estate development, among others. The company had diversified into several non-related businesses, but had failed to achieve its profitability targets.

HoldingCo's board of investors had set a minimum return for all the companies in the portfolio, but many of them fell below their goals. A Bain team was brought in to help:

  • Find a new business opportunity that could eventually replace the reliable cash generators ("cash cows")
  • Define strategies for the smaller businesses ("tigers") so that they would either achieve their value creation objectives or be divested
  • Clarify the strategic and operational role of the center to achieve overall growth


Our Approach

Bain divided HoldingCo's sustainable profit concerns into four challenges and created specific frameworks for each challenge.

Our Recommendations

Bain's first priority was to redesign the money-losing businesses, or "Tigers." Rather than divesting whole companies, we recommended that our client divest product lines. We also delivered detailed business plans for three new endeavors and a new corporate role.

The Results

The initial program resulted in a dramatic increase in HoldingCo's ROIC, from 13 percent to 25 percent over a two-year timeframe. HoldingCo is now working with us to further focus on adjacent business opportunities that we identified.

* We take our clients' confidentiality seriously. While we've changed their names, the results are real.

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