Welcome to the Winter 2014 issue of the Network Industries Newsletter, which is dedicated to the topic of “Business Groups in Network Industries”. Business groups are generally understood as collections of heterogeneous companies tied together by formal and informal links and are distinguished in the management literature as a unique organisational form differing from stand-alone companies. Business groups can be holdings, conglomerates or corporate groups and are particularly widespread in the network industries. The winter issue presents three articles discussing the functioning of business groups in the specific conductions of network industries. Its goal is to present the theoretical framework on business groups indicating the dimensions of their functioning as well as to confront the theory with some practical illustrations and cases. This issue also intends to open a wider discussion on the role, benefits and shortcoming of business groups operating in Europe and worldwide.

In the first article Maria Aluchna using the examples of four cases from Poland discusses the characteristics of business groups and indicates the potential benefits they offer to network industries. The second contribution is delivered by Jana Pieriegud who analyses the evolution and organizational forms of corporate groups in the rail freight sector in Poland focusing on the strategies of PKP Cargo Logistics Group and CTL Logistics Group are discussed. FinallyMiroslav Stojsavljevic in the third article presents the example of Serbian water management companies acting as a specific business group addressing the functioning of public companies dealing with natural resources and showing the complexity of this form of economic activity.

We hope that you find the contribution interesting and inspiring for future studies both on business groups and on network industries.