Electric power industry: Experiments in international business

Álvaro Ferreira da Silva, Isabel Bartolomé-Rodríguez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The electric industry became an international business since the first commercial ventures
started to use it for lighting and power. Back then, the industry resorted to any business
model available to investing abroad: free-standing companies, multinational investment by
manufacturing firms of electricity equipment, investment trusts, or consortia of investors.
The managerial economics of the industry justified this array of experiments. The utility
holding culminated this process of experimentation, representing the face of the
multinational firm in the electric power industry in the early twentieth century. It addressed
the intrinsic stand-alone characteristic of electric utilities and, simultaneously, devised a
business form to blend financing with engineering knowledge and hands-on management
capabilities. From the 1930s foreign capital and multinationals ceased to define the industry.
The preponderance of utility holdings decreased, victims of the Great Depression and the
role of the state as the main protagonist in the integration of national networks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business
EditorsTeresa da Silva Lopes, Christina Lubinski, Heidi J. S. Tworek
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781315277813
ISBN (Print)9781138242654
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Companions


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