Despite challenges in 2019, COWI's order book has never been bigger. The company’s strengthened international focus and the increasing demand for integrated solutions hold promise of growth in the coming year.
COWI looks back at a year when the company achieved a historically large order book of DKK 4 billion. In addition, turnover grew to DKK 6,623 million, and operating profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was DKK 424 million, corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 6.4 per cent. Operating profit before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to DKK 213 million, which corresponds to an EBIT margin of 3.2 per cent. Last, but not least, COWI achieved a solid cash flow of DKK 384 million.
Cool-down in markets
Lars-Peter Søbye, CEO of COWI, explains about a year that presented both challenges and new opportunities to the company:
“The fear of an economic recession, global trade tensions and Brexit caused markets to cool down, especially the buildings market, impacting our projects and earnings.
We also faced challenges on some of our major projects, not least the King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR) project in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we did not reach our targets for the year, which of course is unsatisfactory,” says Søbye.
Joint projects worth half a billion with Arkitema
At the same time, he stresses a positive trend in demand:
"Customers are increasingly seeking holistic, integrated services, which we excel at when joining forces with, e.g., Arkitema. Together, we won projects worth around half a billion kroner in 2019, among other things the new Trondheim Station in Norway. And the positive trend continues in 2020.
Integrating Arkitema in the COWI Group is precisely one of the key reasons why our order book has never been bigger,” highlights Søbye.
Green transition driving growth
At the same time, the green transition is driving massive developments in COWI's Scandinavian home market and globally. And COWI recently restructured to better realise the international growth potential:
"The large projects that we’re involved in continue to grow in size and complexity and span different sectors – sustainability being the core element. The new organisation ensures that we combine our competencies across disciplines and borders, mainly in infrastructure and wind energy. We expect this sector-based approach to increase growth, especially in the USA and the UK. We’re well on the way: We just landed the design of the electrical system for the offshore wind project Atlantic Offshore off the coast of New Jersey, the USA, which will supply green energy to almost one million households on the East Coast,” explains Søbye and concludes:
"It’s more important than ever that we stay on our toes in a challenging market where competition continues to grow fiercer. But I am confident that the ships we’ve launched in the past few years are sailing in the right direction.”