In the UK, the company achieved 19% organic growth in gross revenue, which rose to £125m, making 2018 one of its best years, despite Brexit uncertainty. Key contract wins in 2018 included support work across the Highways England Regional Delivery Partnership framework.
Ramboll UK managing director Mathew Riley said: “To achieve 19% organic growth in difficult market conditions reflects the tremendous effort from everyone across our business.”
“For Ramboll, 2018 was overall a year with a good strategic development,” said group CEO Jens-Peter Saul. “We delivered a strong organic revenue growth of 7% which is above our industry. The solid growth reflects strong performances in the US, UK, Norway, Finland and the Middle East and Asia in particular. We are especially pleased to have achieved a successful turnaround in the UK, where we had one of our best years with 19% growth despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.”
Ramboll’s annual revenue globally reached a record high of DKK 11.4 billion £1.3bn, compared to DKK 10.7 billion £1.25bn in 2017, with organic growth rising to 7% from 2.8% in 2017. Operating profit before goodwill amortisation (EBITA) was DKK 597.0 million compared to DKK 618.9 million in 2017, giving an EBITA margin of 5.3%. (5.8 in 2017).
Saul added: “However, what we achieved in terms of growth we didn’t quite manage in terms of profit which was below our expectations due to a slowdown in our traditionally strong performing business units such as Sweden, Denmark and our international business unit for energy. In 2018 we also doubled the investment in digitalisation and innovation to support our strategic ambition to be a digital leader in our industry – and naturally this also affects our profit.”
In 2018, Ramboll acquired US consultancy O’Brien & Gere (OBG) adding 900 specialists to the company. Globally, about 2,000 new people joined the company including OBG, and Ramboll now has more than 15,000 employees. Expansion in the US has been a strategic priority since the acquisition of Environ in 2015.. “During the last year, we have grown organically by 14 percent in the US, which is now one of our fastest growing and most profitable regions,” said Jens-Peter Saul. As the acquisition of OBG took effect from 1 January 2019, it is not included in the 2018 financial figures.
The acquisition of OBG has led to the establishment of a new principal business unit for Americas with 2,000 employees. The ambition for the unit is to grow to 3,000 to 4,000 employees in four to five years.
Ramboll’s order book currently stands at DKK 7.3 billion £849m, an increase of 31% compared to the end of 2017.
“Looking ahead, our key focus areas in 2019 are to continue the positive growth curve and improve our operational performance across the businesses to better convert growth into profit,” said Saul. “We will also continue to invest heavily in implementing our digital and innovation strategy, and we will focus efforts on Germany where we see a large potential for growth. Last, but not least, we will focus on successfully integrating our new colleagues from OBG.”