2014 saw COWI achieve its best performance ever. At the same time, the company worked on strengthening its high-growth areas through strategic acquisitions and succeeded in reaping tangible benefits of its global positioning.
Strong earnings in 2014 are the result of COWI reaping the benefits of several years of investment and our targeted efforts to create a global and competitive organisation. In 2014, the COWI Group delivered a result of EUR 30 million (EBIT), from a turnover of EUR 714 million. This corresponds to an increase in operating profit of 11 per cent compared to 2013 and is the best result for COWI to date.
Strong specialist skills
COWI can count itself as part of the world’s elite group in a considerable number of selected specialist areas. This position was cemented in 2014 through the acquisition of the British engineering firm Donaldson Associates Ltd., which is among the world’s leading consultants in tunnel and underground engineering. COWI has used this acquisition to bolster its international business for bridges, tunnels and marine structures (BTM). This was also recognised by the international engineering journal Engineering News-Record, which in 2014 ranked COWI fourth in the world in bridge consultancy, third in solid waste, and fourth in harbor and marine structures.
In 2014, COWI also purchased Apsilon, a Danish company specialising in railway signalling systems. Acquiring Apsilon consolidated its strong capabilities within railways – an area that experienced increased growth in 2014.
“In 2015, we will focus on strengthening our specialist competencies through acquisitions that can contribute additional expertise in areas where we are already strong, and where there will be considerable market demand in the coming years,” said Lars-Peter Søbye, President, CEO of the COWI Group.
As an integral part of the COWI Group’s strategy, PowerHouse 2015, the company has spent several years working to strengthen its internal organisation to support efficient and value-creating global cooperation. One of the initiatives has involved the introduction of a new common ERP system, which currently covers 81 per cent of COWI’s employees worldwide, and the establishment of business support centres and engineering offices in Lithuania and India. Today, COWI employs 588 people in those two offices.
“Strengthening our global organisation gives us access to world-class specialists, and at the same time ensures that we can offer our customers competitive prices. This is a prerequisite for continuing to win and carry out the largest and most complex consulting projects in the world,” said Søbye.
Rising demand in core markets
Lars-Peter Søbye expects that COWI will also experience growth in the coming years, in part because of increasing public expenditure on infrastructure in Scandinavia and throughout North America. Today, COWI has in place a comprehensive strategic approach to the Scandinavian infrastructure market across business units and countries. This sees the company coordinate for the preparation of major tenders and collaborate to carry out projects, ensuring that it always sets the best team for the task at the best price for our customers.
One tangible outcome of this work became evident in the autumn of 2014, when COWI won the design for the world’s longest floating bridge in Bjørnafjord, Norway.
“Combining the strongest specialist skills possible, extensive project experience and an organisation that – thanks to our global structure – can deliver flexibly and cost-effectively – COWI is ready to seize the opportunities that will arise in our core markets in the coming years,” said Søbye.
Read more about COWI’s results and its expectations for the future in the 2014 Annual Report. Click on the link in the box to the right.