Strong result in 2021 – order book close to DKK 5 billion


COWI's turnover in 2021 increased by DKK 129 million to DKK 6.569 billion. The order book almost reached DKK 5 billion. New growth strategy is to secure momentum in coming years.

Despite the impact of the continued COVID-19 pandemic, COWI succeeded in achieving the highest ever customer satisfaction, demonstrating a clear link between customer satisfaction and profitability. Operating profit (EBIT) went up to DKK 356 million, an increase of DKK 6 million.

"The result is testament to an effective business that focuses on specific geographical areas, close customer relations and skilled employees, which ensures high quality," says Lars-Peter Søbye, Group CEO, COWI.

In 2021, COWI divested and phased out our activities in the Middle East and Africa, where the risks of doing business are considerable. Instead, COWI secured a stronger market position in its core markets in Scandinavia, the UK and North America. The business saw growth in the UK in particular, and in the US, COWI landed strategically important projects that provide the basis for additional growth. Most recently as advisor on one of the largest offshore wind developments in the US; Empire Wind, off Long Island, New York.

New strategy centred on sustainability and growth

COWI just launched a growth strategy based on the green transition. Among other things, it entails that COWI will no longer take on projects that extend the life of fossil fuels.

"We hold a special responsibility to contribute to a greener society, to the benefit of future generations. Deselecting fossil fuel projects has consequences for our business, as does our wish to have all of our projects, within three to five years, promote sustainability. We have already turned down a number of otherwise profitable projects, but we must be consistent. I'm pleased that most customers appreciate our clear statement. Most of them are ready – as are we – to make a difference that will benefit everyone in the long term," says Lars-Peter Søbye.

Together with COWI's employees, he has identified four market areas that are vital to the green transition and where COWI wants to be a market leader. They are: sustainable energy, large infrastructure, large buildings, and water and climate adaptation.

”Engineers and architects don't have all the answers to the green transition. Therefore, we will make considerable investments in new partnerships, e.g., start-ups, as well as in new innovation and technology that can accelerate sustainability in close dialogue and cooperation with our customers. COWI is a people business. If we are to make a difference together with our customers, we must continuously ensure that our employees are considered the best in the industry. With that in mind, we will allocate even more millions of kroner to competency development in the coming years," explains Lars-Peter Søbye.

Even though the strategy is to drive an annual organic growth of more than five per cent over time, COWI will be prepared to make acquisitions to strengthen its market position.

"Combined, governments in the EU and the US will be investing more than DKK ten trillion in the green transition. Thanks to our competencies, we stand a good chance of getting a good slice of that cake. So, I'm not worried about meeting growth targets. I'm more worried about the lack of qualified labour. To that end, any acquisitions will increasingly be based on the goal of securing employees with the right competencies," says Lars-Peter Søbye.

Building on strong results and a well laid-out, ambitious strategy, COWI will continue to be a leading international company when it comes to promoting innovative solutions and the green transition.

Large new projects in 2021:

  • In the US, COWI was awarded its largest offshore wind engineering contract in the US to date. Contracted by Empire Offshore Wind, a joint venture between Equinor and bp, COWI will deliver a turnkey design for the wind turbine foundations for the Empire Wind 1 and 2 projects off the coast of Long Island, New York. Empire Wind is expected to play a major role in meeting New York State’s goal of reaching 70 per cent of renewable energy by 2030. COWI will provide over 100 experts to work on all aspects of the wind turbine foundation design, from the tower interface to the seabed fastening.

  • In Denmark, COWI won two significant framework agreements within the utility sector. In the coming four years, COWI will help HOFOR and Novafos with, e.g., water and wastewater management as well as district heating. The combined fee for the two contracts amounts to approx. DKK 300 million.

  • In Canada, COWI was awarded a CD 15 million contract by the Province of British Columbia as the owner's engineer of an eight-lane immersed tunnel across the Fraser River, which is to provide more capacity for drivers and transit users, and new walking and cycling options through the crossing for the first time. COWI will provide the reference concepts and geotechnical underpinning for the ambitious CD 4.15 billion river crossing.

  • COWI won a EUR 22.5 million project for the European Investment Bank, leading a consortium with four specialised partners. The project is called IPF11 and evolves around preparation of different sustainable infrastructure projects in six Western Balkan countries. COWI will deliver feasibility studies, environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), design and tender documents. The final goal is to have improved infrastructure facilities, better connectivity and ultimately lift the quality of life in the region. The contract runs for four years.

  • In Norway, COWI was awarded a contract to advise Nye Veier on the planning of the E6 highway between Moelv and Roterud. The project covers 11 kilometres of road, including a highway bridge over Mjøsa. The total project fee is expected to be above NOK 2.5 million.

  • In Sweden, COWI won a contract for the planning phase of Volvo's and Northvolt's new battery factor in Gothenburg. COWI heads the technical investigations.

  • In Sweden, Arkitema & LINK Arkitektur, in collaboration with Arkitektbolaget, won the competition for the design of Växjö's new emergency hospital. Great care has been taken to fit the new building into the surrounding cultural landscape despite its large volume of 125,000 m². Arkitema's fee is approx. SEK 60 million.

Annual resuls table of 2021

Get in contact

 Søren Kragh Pedersen

Søren Kragh Pedersen
Head of Group PA & PR
Communication, Denmark

Tel: +45 20257018