Top Agro (TA - not its real name) is a small crop protection start-up operating in the European Union. In a relatively short period of time TA has been able to secure a reasonable profit margin and build a solid niche in the Italian crop protection market. The driving force in their success is the professional expertise of the two owners, their knowledge of the domestic market, and the highly flexible business model they’ve developed. Chemicals are sourced either in the Far East via a Hong Kong based commercial partner or purchased directly from other European domestic suppliers. TA is responsible for the formulation and packaging of the finished product, which is then distributed in the domestic Italian market. Although TA is now profitable, further sales growth is unlikely. One of the owners is convinced that significant benefits may be obtained by identifying and controlling the key risks that TA is exposed to, in particular by reducing the price risk in their international supply chain. This case has been classroom tested at the senior undergraduate and MBA level with good results. It works well as opening case for an eMBA course on managing price risk, as it provides an opportunity to map the risk “opportunity set” via the ERM challenging students to reason and set intervention priorities by focusing on currency exchange rates and risk management as the most immediate and promising action.


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