Photo: Rasmus Hjortshoj 

COWI delivers strong half-year result despite COVID-19

01.09.2020

COWI looks back at six months of significantly improved bottom-line results, successful integration of Arkitema as well as higher customer satisfaction. Infrastructure investments in, e.g., the UK, ongoing green transition as well as swift adaptation to ‘the new normal’ build expectations for a very satisfactory result for the full year.

COWI delivers significant progress in a number of key figures despite global turbulence: An operating profit (EBIT) of DKK 132 million (a four-per cent margin), which represents an increase of DKK 105 million compared to the first half of 2019. At the same time, the company’s operating cash flow amounted to DKK 543 million – an increase of just over half a billion, which includes DKK 231 million in public support initiatives in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flexible employees and strong customer relations

”The results are testament to the fact that we can count on our customers and employees in times of crisis, and that our services continue to be in high demand,” says CEO Lars-Peter Søbye.

In addition to increasing its bottom-line, COWI has seen customer satisfaction go up during the corona crisis:

“We’ve actively reached out to our customers to inquire what we can do to help them get through the crisis in good shape. They acknowledged that in their feedback. We’ll do our utmost to live up to their trust,” says Lars-Peter Søbye.

”I’m also proud of how almost 7,000 colleagues across the world switched from physical office communities to digital cooperation in record-time, while maintaining high productivity. That was possible thanks to our strong digital infrastructure, clear common values and skilled managers.”

“Also, I’m delighted that our new family member, Arkitema, has added new, key competencies to COWI and that we keep winning projects together. And today, 25 per cent of Arkitema’s turnover comes from projects carried out with some part of the COWI Group.”

Acquisitions in the UK and North America to boost growth

Despite the new projects undertaken with Arkitema, the overall turnover went down in the first six months by DKK 36 million (to DKK 3,307 million), primarily because COWI divested its mapping business and a historically weak Norwegian krone. Excluding these issues, the COWI Group achieved an organic growth of two per cent.

However, COWI's growth ambitions go beyond that:

“We want to grow more in our core markets – Scandinavia, the UK and North America – both organically and via acquisitions. We have the financial strength to make acquisitions and we are searching for new members to join the COWI family, especially in the UK and North America”, says Lars-Peter Søbye and elaborates:

”The infrastructure market is booming. We have never before seen this high activity level in the UK, which is caused by massive public investments intended to kickstart the economy after Brexit, among other things. And I expect to see the US follow the same trend since the US economy and worn-down infrastructure call for investments and solutions that COWI can help deliver.”

Green transition and sustainability as drivers

Furthermore, the demand for green, sustainable solutions is growing across the world.

“The current momentum for sustainable solutions is unprecedented, both domestically and internationally. Take, for instance, the new large-scale, visionary Power-to-X project in the Greater Copenhagen Area, where we will contribute to developing sustainable fuels for the transport industry,” says Lars-Peter Søbye.

Positive expectations in uncertain times

In light of the world economy being under pressure, the continued uncertainties related to Brexit and trade conflicts as well as the COVI-19 pandemic, which continues to pose huge challenges to societies across the world, there are plenty of flashing red lights in the landscape. Nevertheless, Lars-Peter is confident that COWI will reach its targets for 2020:

“The challenges we’re facing leave me humbled, but megatrends such as urbanisation and sustainability are roaring ahead, and the collaboration with our customers and employees I’ve witnessed in the past six months gives cause for optimism.”

Examples of new large projects in the first half of 2020:

Denmark:

  • Copenhagen: Consultant on Metroselskabet’s digital journey; increasingly data-driven approach to solutions etc.
  • Copenhagen: Conceptual design for a future energy island, Vindø, in the North Sea for Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.
  • Copenhagen: Technical consultant for HOFOR (Greater Copenhagen Utility) in relation to softening drinking water at, e.g., the largest waterworks in Denmark, “Værket ved Regnemark”.

Sweden:

  • Southeast Sweden: New consultancy services related to the ongoing large-scale high-speed railway project the East Link for the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket).
  • Gothenburg: Preliminary study for ground-breaking CinfraCap project, which involves the partners – Göteborg Energi, Nordion Energi, Preem, St1, Renova and Gothenburg Port – establishing joint infrastructure for transporting captured CO₂.

Norway:

  • Bamle/Tvedestrand: Planning of new 54-kilometre road section (E18) between Dørdal and Tvedestrand for Nye Veier.
  • Trondheim: Development of new terminal solution for Trondheim Airport, Værnes.

International:

  • USA, California: Detail design of the Iron Horse Overcrossing, a signature cable-stayed pedestrian bridge, for Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA).
  • Scotland and England, UK: Reporting of remedial work on railway section between Edinburgh and Tweedback, including reinforcement of two bridges. For BAM Nuttall Ltd.

Get in contact

Charlotte Holm

Charlotte Holm
Group Media Relations Manager
Group Communication, Denmark

Tel: +45 56401989, Mobile: +45 41761989