Participants in the game, which is sponsored by National Westminster Bank, have in general satisfied the stock market with the level of their dividend payments. However, the period of the year covered by the latest round is notorious for its drop in sales. As a result, some companies' profits are not covering interest payments.
United Distillers has slipped into second place in its group, after three rounds at the top. Its share-price fall is largely due to a build-up of stocks and resulting loss of liquidity.
On the other hand, the students from the Industrial Society have turned round their performance. A marketing campaign helped them to capture the second largest share of the market in their group.
Combining this with the lowest level of overheads would have spelled success but for earlier mistakes in production strategy. With only 16 machines instead of the more than 20 available to other teams, they have been forced to go on to three-shift working - with detrimental effects on production costs.
All 30 teams are trying to run a medium-sized manufacturing company selling to the European Union and the US. In trying to forecast sales and make the best of resources, they are pitting themselves against a computer and each other.
The simulation, designed by Edit 515, which organises the competition, takes in all these functions, plus marketing. But to be successful, a team needs teamwork, communication and trust to cope with a host of other problems.
The winners of the semi-final groups go through to a national final in London next month. The winners of that receive pounds 10,000 and the chance to represent Britain in a European final in Lisbon in January.Reuse content