Revenue for 2019 was DKK14.2bn (£1.6bn), which was a 25% increase on 2018). Organic growth was 4.2%, compared to 7% in 2018).
“We delivered a solid result in 2019,” said group CEO Jens-Peter Saul. “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.”
In the UK, Ramboll achieved 2.5% growth in revenue, which reached £128m, despite political uncertainty hindering investment in some markets. Mathew Riley, managing director for Ramboll in the UK, said: “I’m particularly proud of our continued growth in 2019, which both maintains and builds upon the 19% growth achieved in 2018 despite challenging market conditions.”
Earnings before interest, taxes, and amortisation (EBITA) DKK762.5m compared to DKK597m in 2018, giving an EBITA margin of 5.4% (5.3% in 2018). Ramboll said that the EBITA margin was impacted as expected by a high level of low-margin revenue through subcontractors on specific large projects within OBG, a US engineering and design consultancy that 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 DKK341.1m compared to DKK317.9m in 2018, giving an EBIT margin of 2.4% (2.8% in 2018). The EBIT margin was affected by costs including integration costs related to the OBG-acquisition.
The group expanded through the acquisition of architectural company Henning Larsen and Web Structures (Singapore). As the acquisitions of Henning Larsen and Web Structures take effect from January 2020, these entities are not included in the 2019 financials. Globally, about 1,500 people joined the company during 2019; Ramboll now has about 16,500 employees.
Saul said: “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 Ramboll’s largest geographical market, accounting for 26% of group revenue.
“Looking ahead, our key focus area in 2020 is to prepare ourselves for the next growth stage,” said Saul. “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 said.
Significant major projects won during 2019 included the development of a new vision for rebuilding and enhancing the shorelines of Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River in North America as part of the Resiliency & Economic Development Initiative (REDI). In Norway, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration chose Ramboll as consultant to find solutions to create ferry-free crossings over the three northernmost fjord crossings along the 1,100km E39 Coastal Highway Route between Kristiansand and Trondheim.
UK contract wins in 2019 including being reappointed as technical advisor to British Antarctic Survey for the modernisation of Antarctic infrastructure and the award of further work at the Kings Cross Development, taking its current live projects on site to seven. Ramboll also secured a place on Network Rail’s Design Services Framework and had two successful competition entries for the Highways England Innovation fund.
Riley added: “I’m optimistic for the year ahead with a strong orderbook for 2020 and look forward to the March Budget where we anticipate good investment into climate change mitigation and infrastructure. Decarbonising construction is at the top of consultants’ agendas, and we, like many are investing to find the best solutions to this complex problem. However, I am concerned that the recent Judicial Review on the Heathrow Expansion could have much wider implications for stalling infrastructure projects and private investment, at the very time we need these projects to demonstrate our industry’s potential.”