The engineering, design and consultancy company, Ramboll, further accelerated its growth curve in 2018. Revenue was the highest ever at DKK 11.4 billion, compared to DKK 10.7 billion in 2017. Organic growth was 7% against 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%. Cash conversion was strong at 116%. 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 set a strategic milestone in 2018 with the acquisition of the US consultancy OBG adding 900 experts to the company. Globally, about 2,000 new colleagues joined the company including OBG, 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.
Read more in the Annual Results 2018 news story.