Ramboll delivers strong growth and reaches strategic milestone in the US

11 March 2019
The Ramboll Group further improved revenue in 2018 and significantly strengthened its international presence with a major US acquisition. The company order book is developing positively.
Jens-Peter Saul, CEO, Ramboll Group

Jens-Peter Saul, CEO, Ramboll Group


Jens-Peter Saul

Jens-Peter Saul

Group Chief Executive Officer
T: +45 5161 1000
Marianne Sørensen

Marianne Sørensen

Group Chief Financial Officer
T: +45 5161 1000

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The engineering, design and consultancy company, Ramboll, further accelerated its growth curve in 2018. Revenue was the highest ever at DKK 11.4 billion (DKK 10.7 billion in 2017). Organic growth was 7% (2.8% in 2017). Operating profit before goodwill amortisation (EBITA) was DKK 597.0 million compared to DKK 618.9 million in 2017, giving an EBITA margin of 5.3% (5.8 in 2018). Cash conversion was strong at 116% (65% in 2017). At year-end, Ramboll’s order book stands at DKK 7.3 billion, an increase of 31% compared to the end of 2017.

Ramboll also reached a strategic milestone in 2018 with the acquisition of the US consultancy O’Brien and Gere Limited (OBG) adding 900 experts to the company. Globally, about 2,000 new colleagues joined the company including the OBG staff, and Ramboll now has more than 15,000 employees. As the acquisition of OBG takes effect from 1 January 2019, it is not included in the 2018 financial figures.

“For Ramboll, 2018 was overall a year with a good strategic development,” says Group CEO Jens-Peter Saul. “We delivered a strong organic revenue growth of 7% which is above our industry. The solid growth reflects strong performances in the US, UK, Norway, Finland and the Middle East and Asia in particular. We are especially pleased to have achieved a successful turnaround in the UK, where we had one of our best years with 19% growth despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” he says.

“However, what we achieved in terms of growth we didn’t quite manage in terms of profit which was below our expectations due to a slowdown in our traditionally strong performing business units such as Sweden, Denmark and our international business unit for Energy. In 2018 we also doubled the investment in digitalisation and innovation to support our strategic ambition to be a digital leader in our industry – and naturally this also affects our profit,” he says.

“Looking ahead, our key focus areas in 2019 are to continue the positive growth curve and improve our operational performance across the businesses to better convert growth into profit. We will also continue to invest heavily in implementing our digital and innovation strategy, and we will focus efforts on Germany where we see a large potential for growth. Last, but not least, we will focus on successfully integrating our new colleagues from OBG,” says Jens-Peter Saul. 

Accelerating growth ambitions in the US

Just before year-end, Ramboll announced the acquisition of the US engineering and design consultancy OBG with 900 new colleagues within water, energy and environment joining the company. The acquisition represents a major step forward in the US, which has been a strategic priority since the successful acquisition of ENVIRON in 2015, and strengthens Ramboll’s expertise and ability to deliver sustainable solutions to clients.

“During the last year, we have grown organically by 14 percent in the US, which is now one of our fastest growing and most profitable regions,” says Jens-Peter Saul. “We are very excited to continue the US growth journey with our new colleagues from OBG. Together we’ll stand strong in our effort to solve the challenges caused by global megatrends such as urbanisation, climate change and resource scarcity.”

The acquisition has led to the establishment of a new Principal Business Unit for Americas with 2,000 employees. The ambition for the unit is to grow to 3-4,000 employees in four to five years.

Offering the best to clients

In 2018 Ramboll operationalised and further developed new Spearhead service offerings to drive growth and strengthen specialisation. The services build on high-end global expertise that can be deployed to serve clients internationally. They include services such as High-Rise Buildings, Major Crossings, Smart Mobility, Offshore Wind and Waste-to-Energy. Since their introduction, the Spearhead services have shown impressive growth, particularly within Buildings and Transport which have shown double-digit growth rates.

The Spearhead services are part of a matrix organisation operationalised in 2018 that is intended to increase collaboration globally in order to better serve clients through integrated solutions that draw on Ramboll’s broad expertise.

“The new organisational structure has proved that we serve our clients even better when we work across our markets and geographies. We have never seen so much cross-organisational collaboration in the company as we have this year where revenue on our largest global key accounts grew by 15%,” says Jens-Peter Saul.

Large scale projects worldwide

Across all markets, Ramboll succeeded in winning and delivering inspiring, ground-breaking projects around the world.

In the US, Ramboll was chosen to lead the team responsible for producing the state of New Jersey's strategic plan for offshore wind. The strategy will guide the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in their development of renewable energy and secure a leadership role for the state in the growing US offshore wind market. New Jersey’s ambition is to build 3.5 GW of offshore wind by 2030. Ramboll won the project thanks to more than 30 years of experience and strong references from the Nordic and European offshore wind market, as well as local North American know-how and presence which the acquisition of the US consultancy Environ brought to Ramboll in 2015.

In the UK, Ramboll secured a contract on one of England’s largest road investment programmes, the Highways England Regional Delivery Partnership framework. As one of the principal design partners, Ramboll will be delivering a pipeline of highways projects from early design stages through to completion and handover across the next six years. Ramboll will bring its multidisciplinary expertise in infrastructure solutions to serve not only the needs of Highways England, but also road users, residents, communities and wider society.

In Australia, Ramboll will provide consultancy services over the next three years for Australia’s first waste-to-energy plant. The project will be a landmark project in Australia, which will show the way for future waste-to-energy projects on the continent, where they have begun to consider thermal waste treatment as an alternative to landfill disposal. The new plant in the city of Kwinana south of Perth will handle 400,000 tonnes of waste annually and produce electricity equivalent to the consumption of 50,000 households (36MW). By converting waste to energy, the plant will reduce CO2 emissions by 200,000 tonnes per year, which corresponds to the emissions from 90,000 cars.

In Denmark, Ramboll was chosen as engineering consultant on the spectacular Redmolen project in the North Harbour area of Copenhagen, where two office buildings, a hotel and two residential properties will be built. The overall project is expected to be certified according to the sustainability standard, DGNB, and thus Denmark's largest DGNB project to date.

In Sweden, Ramboll has been working with the University of Uppsala on developing carbon budgets for 17 municipalities and regions. The purpose of the carbon budgets is to provide decision-makers and citizens with an understanding of the need to take action and change behaviour in order to reduce CO2 emissions and help the municipalities live up to the Paris climate agreement.

In Norway, Ramboll was chosen as consultant on the expansion of Tromsø airport, which is an important arctic hub both regionally and nationally. Ramboll will develop Tromsø airport into an efficient, user-friendly and future-oriented airport. The contract includes all consulting engineering services related to the pre-project, as well as detailed planning and follow-up during the construction period.

In Finland, Ramboll won a contract in Espoo’s new Lippulaiva shopping centre with a total of over 160,000 m2. The shopping centre, which includes a two-storey underground parking, a library, a commercial building and a nursery, will be connected to eight residential buildings and sheltered housing. Ramboll will be delivering heating, ventilation and air conditioning services, building management system as well as electrical and sprinkler design. Ramboll is also part of traffic planning and municipal engineering design in the area.

In India, Ramboll won a significant contract for detailed design services and technical support during the construction of India’s longest sea bridge. The Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, joining Mumbai with the satellite city of Navi Mumbai, will be a six-lane highway with two emergency exit lanes and a length of 21.8 kilometres. The new bridge will play a crucial role in future growth in India, providing access to new jobs and housing for hundreds of thousands of people in fast-growing Navi Mumbai when completed by the end of 2022.

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Financial ratios in %



Revenue growth
Organic growth
7.0 2.8
EBITDA margin
6.7 7.3
EBITA margin 5.3 5.8
EBIT margin 2.8 4.1
Return on invested capital (ROIC) 17.0 17.9
Return on equity (ROE)
10.5 6.7
Cash conversion ratio
Equity ratio 31.1 34.0

Ramboll Group A/S

Ramboll Group A/S
Hannemanns Allé 53
DK-2300 Copenhagen S
Tel:+45 5161 1000
Fax:+45 5161 1001

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