2021 was a very successful year for Ramboll. The company delivered its highest revenue and operating profit (EBITA) ever. Operating margin (EBITA) was the highest since 2010.
Gross revenue increased by 4.4% to DKK 14.2 billion in 2021. Organic growth was 4.1%. Net project revenue, which is Ramboll’s own production excluding revenue from subcontractors, was DKK 11.8 billion (+5.9%). Organic growth from net project revenue was 5.2% compared to a negative organic growth of -2.7% in 2020. Operating profit before amortisation of goodwill, brand, and customer contracts (EBITA) increased by 24% to DKK 848.7 million, giving an EBITA margin of 6.0% (5.0% in 2020). At year-end, Ramboll’s order book stands at DKK 7.3 billion, which is an increase of 7% compared to the end of 2020.
“I am very pleased with Ramboll’s strong operational result in 2021. Delivering a record result in a year where the Covid-19 pandemic continued to affect our daily lives underlines the strength of our business,” says Group CEO of Ramboll, Jens-Peter Saul. “I would like to say a special thanks to all our dedicated employees who have done an outstanding job to deliver on our projects and support our clients during the Covid-19 pandemic. We could not have achieved this strong result without their continued commitment and our excellent client relationships during these challenging times.”
The record-high result reflects strong performances in almost all geographies, especially in the UK, Germany, and Central Europe & Africa where Ramboll achieved double-digit organic growth. Growth was also strong in the US and across the Nordics, except in Sweden where Ramboll experienced a slight decline in revenue. In the Middle East, Ramboll had a negative growth as the company has been closing down its oil and gas activities in the region. From a market perspective, the new business unit Henning Larsen had a very successful start with double-digit organic growth and strong profit. Also, the business units for Environment & Health, Water, Transport, and Management Consulting had a strong activity level. Within Energy, Ramboll experienced an expected decrease in revenue due to the reduction in oil and gas. At the same time, Ramboll further strengthened its leading position in renewable energy such as offshore wind and emerging technologies like Power-to-X and carbon capture and storage.
“Though the immediate challenges caused by the pandemic are now substituted by the war in Ukraine and the increased geopolitical and economic uncertainty, we are optimistic about 2022, which is the first year of our new strategy. In light of our strong order book, we expect continued strong growth in 2022 and increased profit,” Jens-Peter Saul says.
New Group strategy goes all in on sustainability
2021 was the final year of Ramboll’s Group strategy ‘Winning Together’, and in the beginning of 2022 Ramboll launched its new four-year strategy ‘The Partner for Sustainable Change’.
Over the last five-year strategy period Ramboll grew by 35% despite the Covid-19 pandemic and has built a very strong sustainability offering across markets. ‘The Partner for Sustainable Change’ strategy sets Ramboll’s direction from 2022 to 2025 with a bold ambition to become a global leader in sustainability by helping clients and society transform towards a sustainable future.
“The climate crisis is real, and the effects of global warming, extreme weather conditions, resource scarcity and biodiversity loss are beginning to be felt acutely across the globe. Sustainability has always been at the core of our company purpose and with our new strategy, we are committing all our global expertise and efforts towards a more sustainable future. It is our bold ambition that by 2025 everything Ramboll does contributes positively to sustainable change,” Jens-Peter Saul says.
It means that on all projects Ramboll will offer clients alternative solutions on how to improve the sustainability of their projects and will collaborate very closely with clients and partners to bring the best of Ramboll’s sustainability insight, innovation power and design excellence. Ramboll will focus on four sustainability themes, where societal and client needs intersect with Ramboll’s expertise: decarbonisation, urban resilience and liveability, resource management and circularity, and biodiversity. In each of the four themes, Ramboll intends to be a global leader, and in the green energy transition the ambition is to become the global industry leader.
“These four themes will define where we invest, and the clients and projects we prioritise,” Jens-Peter Saul says. “It is a bold strategic direction, and there will undoubtedly be challenges. But it is not in our company DNA to watch the world pass by from the sidelines. Only by applying the world’s brightest minds can we solve the toughest challenges, and with decades of global expertise in sustainability across sectors and markets, we can make a lasting, positive impact,” he says.
Global signature projects
Ramboll’s contribution to sustainable change was already evident in the number of signature projects for sustainable development that the company won during 2021.
- Raising timber to new heights – In Denmark, Ramboll and Henning Larsen are joining forces on a huge timber building project for AP Pension. At eight stories and 36 meters tall, and covering 28,000 square metres, the Marble Pier will be one of the largest timber buildings ever erected in Denmark and home to some of the most sustainable offices possible with existing technology. The building saves 9,500 tonnes carbon emissions, as compared with a similar building made of concrete. The Marble Pier is expected to receive the highest possible sustainability accreditations for buildings, namely, LEED, DGNB Platinum and Diamond, as well as the well-being certification WELL Platinum. The building is expected to be completed by 2024.
- World's first floating plant for solar power in rough waters – In Norway, the international energy company Equinor will pilot test the world’s first floating solar power plant in rough offshore waters in the Norwegian Sea. Ramboll will contribute to the revolutionary pilot project with interdisciplinary engineering expertise. The facility will be tested for at least one year in one of the most weather-challenged areas along the Norwegian coast. The purpose of the pilot test is to measure how the weather conditions affect the plant.
- Groundwater sustainability in California – In the US, the California Department of Water Resources has selected a team of consultants led by Ramboll to conduct airborne electromagnetic surveys in California’s high- and medium-priority groundwater basins. The surveys will provide a standardised state-wide dataset which will improve understanding of large-scale aquifer structures and support implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
- Halving carbon emissions and increasing road safety - In Sweden, Ramboll won a significant project for the Swedish Transport Administration which will rebuild road E10 between Kiruna and Kauppinen, a stretch of well over 7 km. The Swedish Transport Administration has identified the project as a pilot project to work with carbon reduction and aims to reduce carbon emissions by 50% during road plan implementation, tendering and production. Set for completion in 2030, the project also tackles other environmental challenges such as protecting existing habitats and migratory patterns of local wildlife.
- Sustainable transportation for Germany – In Germany, Ramboll was selected by Deutsche Bahn to plan the extension of one of the most important transport hubs in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia. The project is the backbone for the expansion of the S-Bahn network in the metropolitan region and paramount to connecting the Ruhr region to the national and international rail network.
- New children’s hospital in Cambridge – In the UK, Cambridge Children’s Hospital, due to open in 2025, will be a world-first hospital that cares for children’s physical and mental health together, alongside leading-edge academic research. In addition, the hospital aims to be an exemplar in carbon reduction as part of its role in providing a safer and more sustainable future for all. The ultimate aim is to be carbon neutral. Ramboll will provide all engineering services for the hospital.
- Public transport system in the capital region of Finland – In Finland, Ramboll has been selected to participate in the design and the construction management of the City Rail Link in Espoo, one of the first phases of the new high-speed rail link between Helsinki and Turku. The Espoo City Rail Link will provide the 1.5 million residents in the greater Helsinki area with fast, frequent, and more sustainable transport options. The high-speed rail project includes new bridges, four stations, and an inviting park-and-ride facility adjacent to an existing station.
- Laying the groundwork for the world’s first energy islands - The Danish Government has committed to establishing two energy islands in the North Sea and Baltic Sea in 2030. Together, they are expected to supply 5 GW of electricity, enough to power five million homes in Denmark and neighbouring countries. That capacity may increase to 13 GW. The artificial island in the North Sea is currently in the tender phase, and Ramboll is supporting the VindØ consortium by developing a full masterplan, including exploring the potential for large-scale Power-to-X facilities on the island. Those facilities would convert power from nearby offshore windfarms into green hydrogen and carbon-free fuels for use in hard-to-decarbonise sectors like shipping. In the Baltic Sea, a 2-3 GW energy island will be located on the Danish island of Bornholm. Ramboll was selected by Energinet to undertake an extensive environmental impact assessment on nearby Natura 2000-protected areas and local wildlife. In a related project, Ramboll is coordinating the Bornholm Bunker Hub consortium to explore how green fuels could be supplied from the port of Rønne on Bornholm to ships in the Baltic Sea. These are merely three of the more than 60 Power-to-X projects with a Ramboll footprint.