Cenk Düzyol, Chairman of the Board of Management Ballast Nedam N.V.:
We managed to deliver another positive result and strong growth in 2019, despite the challenging circumstances in our industry. We continue to see the positive results of the restructuring and reorganisation which was done in the first two years after the take over by Rönesans. The following two years 2018 and 2019 prove that Ballast Nedam is healthy, restructured, result-oriented and entrepreneurial with highly qualified, experienced and motivated employees. Together we achieve our goals, as we have been doing for over 140 years. This makes me proud: Ballast Nedam is extremely committed and passionate to continue to grow and to take on new challenges. We are able to adapt to complex and different circumstances and to find creative solutions to continuously improve ourselves. This will always be an important part of our corporate culture.
Looking at the financial results, our revenue has grown by over 18%, up to € 874.1 million. This is primarily realised from our construction activities, residential- and non-residential buildings and infrastructure. In addition, the Development- and Heavy Industries divisions made a strong contribution. The profit for the year of € 12.8 million improved the shareholders’ equity to € 77.1 million. The working capital ratio of Ballast Nedam improved to 1.3 (2018: 1.1) and the cash position of the company at year end amounted to € 201.0 million (2018: € 146.2 million).
We realised an increased quality of the order intake and a solid order book of € 1.5 billion. Therefore, under ordinary circumstances, a significant part of the 2020 revenue is already secured and continued growth is possible. The completion of legacy projects, enhancement of risk management, the current cash surplus and further improved quality of the ‘design and engineering’ functions provide management with additional flexibility in its operations and execution of its strategy.
We manage the process of selective and strategic tendering, from contract negotiations up to the execution. We are also able to oversee risks, assess their possible impact and have more control over what we do. Our international excellence in Building Information Modeling is one of the methods that makes this possible. A trusting relationship and transparency towards our stakeholders, create better results as we come to smarter and more efficient decision-making. With small expert teams and strong leaders in the right places, we can accomplish the most complex project assignments.
Several new projects were granted to us in 2019 such as the HES Hartel Tank Terminal Project in Rotterdam (Ballast Nedam Heavy Industries), also in Rotterdam Tuinbuurt Vrijlandt (Ballast Nedam Development), the Feringa Building: a new large building at the University of Groningen (Ballast Nedam Building Projects) and the S-Bahntunnel in Munich (Ballast Nedam Marine & Civil).
At one of our most sustainable projects, the Airside Pier at Schiphol, the first contours of the new glass facade are visible. While in Vlaardingen and Rozenburg, the first marks in our landscape are visible at the Blankenburg connection between the A20 and A15. It is the basis for better accessibility of the region. All tests for the Gaasperdammertunnel (A9) were completed. We are working hard on the phased opening of the tunnel this spring. Our people are currently working under challenging circumstances at the CoolTower in Rotterdam, which is a perfect example of our ability to build complex high rises.
We focus on minimising the footprints we leave on our environment and we take actions to embrace our corporate social responsibility. Sustainability has become a commonality in many aspects of our company and continues to have our attention. Also safety has our special attention for we want to keep our promise to all people who work for Ballast Nedam: to arrive home safely at the end of the day.
One of the uncertainties we face is new case law and legislation in the field of nitrogen and PFAS. We do not currently expect this to have a significant impact on sales and performance in 2020. The virus COVID-19 has become a pandemic disease and, as a result, the whole of the Netherlands is experiencing macro-economic uncertainty. The virus disrupts economic activity and harms society. The pandemic will affect our development and construction activities, for example, through the availability of materials, staff and the realisation of delivery times. We are currently experiencing the first consequences of this. It is still difficult to estimate the extent to which this will have an effect. Ballast Nedam will continue to follow the policy and advice of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). We will do our utmost to continue our business operations and construction sites as well as possible. The most important thing is to keep our people safe and healthy. We are also reaching out to the Dutch government and trust in their support for all our stakeholders, the entire sector, for the entire country.
If the impact of the macro-economic situation remains under control, we expect to grow further, both nationally and internationally. Several institutions predict pressure on the growth in the Dutch construction industry in the coming years, ranging from a limited growth to a decrease. We plan to grow in upcoming years due to the added value we have created with our international network, contracts and supply chain and our ability to accept and execute projects abroad. We benefit from our close relationship with our parent company Rönesans. We believe that the industry requires a much more international approach. We would even state that the Dutch construction industry can only expand by embracing an international approach to executing projects. In line with our international growth ambition, Ballast Nedam Parking acquired the majority in Stripe Consulting Ltd. based in the United Kingdom in 2019.
In the coming years we will continue to improve all aspects of our company, for we will always strive for the better version of ourselves. We will also continue on the path we have set out on. We will accomplish this by our way of working and with our bold entrepreneurial spirit. We seek flexible solutions together with our clients; that way we remain a preferred partner within the industry.
Have a look in our new Dutch or English online brochure for more information about our projects, our people and how we work. Would you like to receive a printed version? Send an email to email@example.com.
*Underlying EBITDA 2019 excluding IFRS 16 effects amounts to € 12.0 million.