COWI has entered into an agreement to acquire Denmark’s biggest architectural practice for a three-digit million DKK amount. The aim is to develop even better, more aesthetic and integrated solutions within urban development, liveability, climate and sustainability.
“1 plus 1 makes 3,” says COWI’s CEO Lars-Peter Søbye: “Both COWI and Arkitema have leading positions in their markets, but together we can bring out the best in each other and provide our customers with innovative, integrated high-quality solutions. On top of that the acquisition will open up new development possibilities for our employees.”
At present, COWI has about 6,700 employees. As of 1 January 2019, Arkitema brings approximately 550 new employees to the company as an new business line.
Arkitema specialises in housing, urban design, office buildings, health and educational building and are, among other buildings, known for the Sluseholmen, an artificial peninsula in the southern part of the Port of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Strong owner coupled with independence
CEO at Arkitema Peter Hartmann Berg is looking forward to the deal: “With COWI we get a strong owner who can open up new markets and help us develop our business. At the same time, we retain our strong brand and culture. We look forward to presenting all the new opportunities to our customers and employees.”
COWI’s CEO Lars-Peter Søbye explains that customer demands for integrated solutions as well as the global mega trends presenting new challenges and possibilities, are the main reason behind the acquisition: “The global mega trends – in particular the need for sustainability – puts increasingly higher demands on the solutions we need to provide. The acquisition of Arkitema enables us to supply the entire range of technology and design in one integrated high-quality solution.”
In recent years, Arkitema has increasingly felt the implications of the consolidation taking place in the sector. It is more difficult to partner up with independent consultants for major projects. In addition, Arkitema sees attractive opportunities in becoming part of a group with a strong Scandinavian base and a global reach: “The deal ensures that we always have a strong engineering partner wherever we operate. Together we can win market shares locally and globally, driven by urbanisation, digitalisation and climate change,” says CEO Peter Hartmann Berg.
On the other hand, Arkitema can with their strong presence in, for instance Sweden, help strengthen COWI’s clout in a number of local markets.
Making it easy for the customer
Especially private clients, but public clients too within building and infrastructure are looking for consulting houses who can take responsibility for the entire project and not just part of it: “We already have very capable architects inhouse who provide consultancy services, but with the acquisition of Arkitema we are adding core competences to our services while gaining a strength which makes us far better at supplying the integrated solutions that our customers require – and we can give them the whole shebang,” says CEO in COWI Lars-Peter Søbye.
“COWI and Arkitema are a good match, because both enterprises are market leaders, our key focus is the supply of professional high-quality solutions, and we have a shared Scandinavian culture and values. In addition, we know each other well from a number of projects, and both our businesses bring with them many years of experience in the sector,” says CEO Peter Hartmann Berg.
COWI has been in the market for almost 90 years, while Arkitema’s 50th anniversary takes place next year.
The agreement about the acquisition of Arkitema has been sent for approval to the Danish Competition Authority which is expected to give their response within a couple of months. The agreement contains a confidentiality clause regarding the purchase amount.