Case Detail

Case Summary


Case Number: 5-204-254, Year Published: 2004

HBS Number: KEL007

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Authors: David Besanko

Key Concepts

Economics, Competitive Strategy


In 1996 the St. Louis-based manufacturer Zoltek launched a massive expansion of capacity to produce commercial-grade carbon fiber, a composite material used to produce a wide variety of end products ranging from sporting goods to windmill blades. Zoltek’s goal was to become the dominant firm in a market whose growth was expected to be spectacular starting in the late 1990s. This case describes Zoltek’s major strategic moves in the mid-1990s and can be used to explore the economic logic of a major capacity commitment. The case provides a possible example of the Stackelberg leadership model from oligopoly theory.

Number of Pages: 4

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Economics, Strategy

Geographic: US, global

Industry: Carbon Fiber

Organization Name: Zoltek

Organization Department: NA

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: NA

Year of Case: 1996