Monks and Businessmen in Catalonia: The Benedictines of Montserrat (1900-1936)

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Cambridge University Press
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This article studies the strategy developed by the Benedictine Community at the Monastery of Montserrat to conceal their patrimony through the constitution of a public limited company. The singularity of this case lies in the opacity that the Benedictines created regarding their properties in the eyes of the government and in the fact that the public limited company was, rather than just a simple mechanism to conceal the Community¿s assets, a real tool for business management. This instrumental character included a strategy for the enlargement of the patrimony, a line of improvement in the use of rented estates and services, and the execution of the Community¿ decisions concerning its assets. The business analysis of Larsa is focused in the development of the firm compared to that of its geographical environment, Catalonia, so as to show the similarities and differences between the Benedictine public limited company, managed by members of a religious order, and those run by laymen. Larsa¿s strategy was based, as that of similar firms, on organic growth and a low level of indebtedness, although a break occurred in that strategy as the result of an exogenous shock (the October 1934 Revolution) that forced the company to modify its objectives from longevity and solvency to profit maximization, dividend distribution and even business decapitalisation.
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2006-08188/ECON and ECO2009-10739 research projects of the Ministry of Education and by the SEJ-4129 research project of the Andalusian Government
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Enterprise & Society. Vol 11 (2): 242 - 274
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