COWI delivers solid results for the first half of 2018: Earnings are up by more than 60 per cent and the order book is fuller than ever before. Urbanisation remains the key driver, and the consulting company has landed several prestigious projects in Scandinavia and internationally. COWI expects to see continued growth despite global political unrest.
With a turnover of DKK 3,240 million, COWI has gone up by six per cent compared to the same period last year. In addition, COWI has increased its bottom line significantly: Operating profit before depreciations (EBITDA) amounts to DKK 260 million, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of eight per cent, whereas the operating profit (EBIT) is up by 62 per cent to DKK 162 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of five per cent.
Lars-Peter Søbye, CEO of COWI, is pleased with the positive trend:
"We've delivered an excellent result. We've made it a priority to increase our bottom line in parallel to our turnover, and we succeeded in the first half of 2018 – thanks to the initiatives that we launched in 2017 to improve operations. In terms of cash flow, we're not quite there yet, which is mainly due to a couple of major international projects, but we have a sound basis for meeting our expectations for the year."
Record-breaking order book
The main reason for this optimistic mindset is the continuous, vast increase in projects. For instance, COWI just won 21 out of 43 sub-contracts on the expansion of the largest airport on Iceland, Keflavík. And, in cooperation with Aarsleff, COWI developed the preliminary conceptual phases for the manmade island Kronløbsøen in Nordhavnen, Copenhagen. Across the globe, in Changua, Taiwan, COWI landed the detail design of the foundation for a new offshore wind farm.
"Our order book is up by ten per cent compared to the same period last year. The Scandinavian and the international markets are still strong – mainly because of urbanisation. That proves that our strategy is pointing us in the right direction. At the same time, it's evident that we're a highly competitive player because we constantly get better at applying our resources and competencies across disciplines and national borders," says Søbye and adds:
"Our financial position is also very favourable, having no debt and in excess of a billion kroner at our disposal."
Sturdy on an unstable global market
Being an international company operating across the world, COWI constantly monitors markets and political trends. Despite the current global political and economic unrest, Søbye expects that COWI's business will continue to develop positively:
"Our operations have become even sturdier, and 80 per cent of our activities are anchored in Scandinavia, which is a highly stable market. But we're also seeing vast possibilities in other parts of the world and we have big ambitions for our international activities. For instance, we've just inaugurated our new office in Singapore, which will be the platform for further developing the entire favourable Southeast Asian market," he says, concluding:
"We consider the global political situation highly unpredictable, but our business is geared to handle that."
Examples of new major projects landed in the first half of 2018:
- The Greater Copenhagen Light Rail: Detail design of the transportation system.
- Kronløbsøen in Nordhavnen, Copenhagen: Development of conceptual phases.
- Jordmodervej in Ringsted (large future industrial development area): Design of land site development.
- Baltic Pipe: Main consultancy on new gas pipeline on Zealand.
- Helsingborg: Design of phosphorous recycling facility for Easymining.
- Trollhättan: Design of sustainable wastewater treatment plant for Arvidstorp treatment facility.
- Malmö: Development of climate-adaptation solutions for the city in cooperation with Lund University.
- Tromsø: Design of the new museum in Tromsø, which will be a town landmark.
- Oslo: As part of a consortium, COWI won the development of the concept for the new Aker Hospital.
- India: Detail design of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, which will be India's biggest bridge over water.
- Taiwan: Detail design of the foundation for a new offshore wind farm in Changua.
Key figures H1 2018