Operational net profit was up 15% to €521m., which has at the top end of the company’s guidance range announced a year ago.
Sales for the year grew to €23.9bn, equating to a nominal increase of 6% or 11% when adjusted for exchange rates. Margins also improved.
The order backlog reached €47.3bn and the tally of new orders in the fourth quarter of 2018 matched 2017’s record figure of €8.9bn. The order backlog is equivalent to over 22 months of work.
CEO Marcelino Fernández Verdes said that 2018 was another very successful year for Hochtief. “For the sixth consecutive year we managed to increase our cash-backed operational net profit and we expect this positive trend to continue. Our focus on developed markets and a broad variety of business models gives us a robust, well-balanced profile in the infrastructure business that is paying off in a sustainable manner.”
The €541m nominal net profit includes a €84m contribution from June onwards arising from a new 20% stake in toll road operator Abertis.
Looking ahead Hochtief has identified a pipeline worth in total about €600bn of relevant projects coming to the group’s key markets in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe in 2019 and beyond. The Group’s position in developed PPP markets is reflected in the PPP project pipeline of approximately €230bn.
In 2018, Hochtief set up Nexplore, a group-wide digital innovation hub. “Nexplore will lend us huge support in transitioning to an enhanced digital future for our group activities,” said Fernández Verdes. “The objective of Hochtief’s digital transformation is to create value for our clients and stakeholders by changing the way we work.”
Nexplore plans to establish several innovation centres worldwide. In addition to the existing locations in Essen, Frankfurt/Darmstadt and Minneapolis, centres will be set up in Sydney and Madrid.