2019 was another successful year for Ramboll. Revenue was the highest ever at DKK 14.2 billion (up 25% from DKK 11.4 in 2018). Organic growth was 4.2% (7.0% in 2018). Operating profit before amortisation of goodwill and customer contracts (EBITA) reached DKK 762.5 million compared to DKK 597.0 million in 2018, giving an EBITA margin of 5.4% (5.3% in 2018). The EBITA margin was impacted as expected by a high level of low-margin revenue through subcontractors on specific large projects in OBG, the US engineering and design consultancy which Ramboll acquired in January 2019. On a like-for-like basis, the underlying margin in 2019 was 0.4%-point higher than in the year before. Operating profit before interest and tax (EBIT) was DKK 341.1 million compared to DKK 317.9 million in 2018, giving an EBIT margin of 2.4% (2.8% in 2018). The EBIT margin was affected by an increase in other costs from DKK 91 million in 2018 to DKK 227 million in 2019. Main cost drivers were integration costs related to the OBG-acquisition as well as costs to further strengthen profitability by adjusting the portfolio of businesses and by improving the global support function setup. Free cash flow of DKK 468.0 million in 2019 increased compared to DKK 259.1 million in 2018.
Ramboll took a significant strategic step when acquiring the world-renowned architectural company Henning Larsen. By joining forces, Ramboll and Henning Larsen aim to create value for its clients delivering holistically through integrated design solutions combining architectural services with technical insight. Globally, around 1,500 new colleagues joined the company during 2019, and with Henning Larsen and Web Structures (Singapore) joining in the beginning of 2020, Ramboll now has around 16,500 employees globally.
As the acquisitions of Henning Larsen and Web Structures take effect from January 2020, these entities are not included in the 2019 financials.
“We delivered a solid result in 2019. Our growth was strong, especially in the Nordics and the US where we have seen an 18% growth from our newly acquired company OBG. Our global Water, Transport and Energy markets also delivered solid growth,” reports Group CEO Jens-Peter Saul.
“The operational performance (EBITA) is equally strong and we have managed to advance the strategic development in terms of geographical footprint, global spearhead competences, sustainability and digitalisation. The US is now our largest geographical market, accounting for 26% of Group revenue. Our 17 global spearhead services such as Highrise, Offshore Wind and Smart Mobility continue to develop positively with a revenue growth of 15%. Regarding sustainability, 59% of the revenue is now directly supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, we are making good progress on digitalisation through our digital centre in India focusing on automation,” Jens-Peter Saul says.
“Looking ahead, our key focus area in 2020 is to prepare ourselves for the next growth stage. We will continue the successful integration of OBG and other acquired companies and leverage the great potential we have with Henning Larsen. We will also continue the transformation of our support functions to be more efficient and scalable in line with the company development,” he says.
World-class solutions for sustainable development
Throughout the years, Ramboll and Henning Larsen have worked together on various iconic projects, such as the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik, Iceland, and the Opera in Copenhagen, Denmark. The companies currently collaborate on projects in the Carlsberg City and on Redmolen in Copenhagen and have recently won a prestigious masterplan for Toronto.
Ramboll also won significant major projects elsewhere during 2019.
In the US, Ramboll is contributing to the innovative development of a new vision for rebuilding and enhancing the shorelines of Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River in North America as part of REDI – the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. REDI focuses on addressing the immediate and long-term needs of this geography which has been hard-hit by flooding, while also enhancing economic development and the condition of the lake. The State of New York chose Ramboll for its domestic capabilities coupled with European climate change and flood resilience experience.
In Asia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have started an initiative with Ramboll to develop, pilot and implement enabling-asias-smart-cities-for-future-generations. The project will address urban challenges within liveability, climate change, planning and resilience and will utilise Ramboll’s holistic expertise in architecture, water, transport, energy, buildings and management consulting. The ability to work across these sectors and to identify innovative solutions to complex urban issues, were decisive factors for ADB in selecting Ramboll as its partner for this groundbreaking project.
In Denmark, DSB (Danish State Railways) has chosen Ramboll as full-service consultant for the construction of three large workshop facilities for train maintenance in three cities in Denmark. The workshops will be central to the overall rollout of the electric train service that will provide Denmark with new climate-friendly trains.
In Sweden, Ramboll is planning the new high-speed railway route through the city Linköping as well as the route Gothenburg-Borås, one of Sweden's busiest. Commuting by bus and car currently creates congestion and the single-track railway does not provide sufficient capacity. With double-rail tracks built for speeds of 250 km/hour, travel time will be greatly improved, and the number of trains can be increased significantly. The new railway will also give people the opportunity to travel more sustainably. Ramboll’s assignment is to investigate a suitable corridor for the tracks that will deliver better journey times and accessibility while minimising the impact on the environment as well as the disruption for the local inhabitants.
In Norway, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration chose Ramboll as consultant to find solutions to ferry-free crossings over the three northernmost fjord crossings along the 1,100-kilometer Coastal Highway Route E39 between Kristiansand and Trondheim.
In Finland, Ramboll has contributed with geotechnical, environmental, structural, electrical, lighting and landscaping services to the three-block Tripla complex in Helsinki. The complex forms an urban hub that includes a shopping centre, the Mall of Tripla, railway station, hotel, working, living, housing and leisure-time activities. Tripla has been awarded the highest level LEED Platinum certification. Green roof area amounts to a total of 40% of all roof area, and the average energy consumption of the shopping centre is approximately 40% lower and its water consumption approximately 40% lower than in new buildings on average.
In the UK, Ramboll continues to reinforce its position as a leader in safer and sustainable digital signalling. Following the team’s work since early 2017 in supporting Network Rail’s central Digital Railway programme, they secured the role of Rail Systems Integration Partner for the East Coast Digital Programme. Ramboll will be working with their partners Atkins and PwC to bring about the transformation of the railway on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) through the deployment of modern and cost effective digital signalling.