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Restructuring in finance refers to the act of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational, or other structures of a company, typically with the aim to make the business more profitable or better organized for its present needs. This may involve changes to debt, operations, or structure to limit financial harm and improve the business. The process can be carried out during a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, or during a period of poor performance to improve the company’s financial stability.


The phonetic spelling for the word “Restructuring” is: /riːˈstrʌktʃərɪŋ/

Key Takeaways

  1. Restructuring is a process aimed at making significant changes within a company. This can include alterations in financial and operational aspects, or business strategy. It is typically conducted to improve a business’s performance and make it more profitable, or to adapt to changes in the market.
  2. Some of the common methods of restructuring include mergers and acquisitions, downsizing, cost-cutting, and changing management. These allow the company to eliminate inefficiencies, increase their competitiveness, and boost stakeholder value.
  3. Though restructuring can lead to many positive outcomes, it can also have significant short-term impacts such as job loss and lowered morale among employees. Therefore, a carefully designed and well-communicated plan is crucial for successful restructuring.


Restructuring is a crucial business/finance term because it refers to the corporate management procedure of reorganizing the legal, ownership, operational, or other structures of a company to make it more profitable or organized. It may involve changes in debt, operations, or equity. Restructuring plays a vital role, especially during challenging financial periods, as it allows companies to reassess their strategies, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and turnaround their financial situation. It’s a necessary tool for companies seeking to align their operations with the current market conditions and maintain their overall competitiveness and sustainability.


The primary purpose of restructuring in business or finance is to make the company more profitable or efficient. It is usually employed when a company is facing significant problems and needs to make financial and operational adjustments to improve its prospects. Whether a company’s challenges are due to internal inefficiencies or external challenges like an economic downturn or competitive pressures, the restructuring process can result in various operational changes aimed at improving the company’s performance. These changes could include decreasing overhead costs, improving the supply chain, or divesting inefficient divisions. Restructuring can also be used to strategically reposition a business in the market, enabling it to adapt to new developments or changes in its industry. In some cases, companies may even restructure to capitalize on unexplored opportunities, diversify their product range, or pivot into new markets. Debt restructuring is another form of it wherein a company may alter its existing debt structure to gain some advantage, such as negotiating more favorable terms with creditors. From the financial point of view, companies restructure their business to reduce expenses, streamline operations, consolidate businesses, expand, or change the corporate structure. Hence, restructuring is a strategic tool for reviving, reinventing, and adapting a business to meet its evolving objectives and the demands of the market.


1. **General Motors Restructuring:** In 2009, in response to a severe drop in vehicle sales, General Motors (GM) underwent a restructuring process. With mounting debt and facing possible bankruptcy, GM restructured its operations with assistance from the U.S. government. They closed several factories, eliminated thousands of jobs, discontinued certain brands (like Pontiac), and significantly reduced debt. Post-restructuring, GM was re-listed on the Stock Exchange and has since recovered.2. **Kodak Restructuring:** The Eastman Kodak Company, once a leader in photographic film, struggled with the rapid technological change brought about by digitalization. To avoid bankruptcy, Kodak initiated a restructuring process in 2012. This involved selling off many of its patents related to digital imaging, streamlining its product offering, and focusing on new areas, like digital printing and enterprise services. 3. **American Airlines Restructuring:** American Airlines, one of the largest airline carriers in the U.S, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011, under the burden of high fuel prices and labor costs. This initiated a restructuring process that focused on cutting costs and improving profitability. It resulted in a merger with US Airways in 2013, forming a new company, the American Airlines Group.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is restructuring in business?

Restructuring is a type of corporate action taken when significant changes or adjustments are made to the business model or organization. It involves altering the financial and operational aspects of a company to address challenges and improve business performance, profitability, or efficiency.

What are common types of business restructuring?

Common types of business restructuring include operational restructuring and financial restructuring. Operational restructuring often involves changes to the organization, such as workforce, management processes, or company policy. Financial Restructuring involves significant changes to a company’s capital structure, such as debt refinancing or equity dilution.

When does a company need restructuring?

Restructuring typically occurs when a company faces financial difficulties or to implement strategies for growth. It can also take place during a merger, acquisition, or as a response to changes in business markets.

How does restructuring impact stakeholders?

The impact can be both positive and negative. Employees may potentially face layoffs or have their roles redefined. Shareholders may initially see a drop in stock prices but may benefit in the long-run if the restructuring improves the company’s health. Debt holders may have to renegotiate terms to manage the company’s liabilities.

What is ‘Restructuring Charge’?

A restructuring charge is a cost that a company incurs when reorganizing its business operations. It is often considered a one-time expense and can cover costs such as severance pay, asset impairments, or lease breakage fees.

Does restructuring necessarily mean a company is in trouble?

Not necessarily. While restructuring is often associated with companies in financial distress, it can also be a proactive measure designed to improve efficiency, expand into new markets, or adjust to changing economic conditions.

What role do outside advisers play in business restructuring?

Outside advisers, which may include investment bankers, lawyers, or consultants, can provide expert advice and guidance throughout the restructuring process. They may be involved in negotiations with debt holders, the development of a new business model, or the execution of a downsizing program.

How long does the restructuring process typically take?

The length of the restructuring process can vary largely depending on the complexity of the situation. It can range from a few months to a few years. It is an intricate process that involves strategic planning, negotiations with various stakeholders, and possibly legal proceedings.

Related Finance Terms

  • Debt Refinancing
  • Bankruptcy
  • Merger and Acquisitions
  • Organizational Redesign
  • Downsizing

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