From Family Networks to Boom-and-Bust Groups
Business groups have been limited in number and influence for most of Australia’s modern history. Several entrepreneurs managed a diversified portfolio of interests, and business families often cooperated with one another, but this rarely took the form of a business group. When the Australian economy diversified into manufacturing from its initial narrow resource base, multinational corporations formed a dominant presence. Governments built infrastructure but did not facilitate groups. Maturing capital markets negated the need for in-house treasuries. Business groups temporarily dominated the corporate landscape for several decades towards the end of the twentieth century, but their business model was flawed in relation to the Australian environment and most failed to survive the downturn of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
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