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COWI delivers considerable top-line and bottom-line growth

Photo: COWI

​In 2016, international consulting company COWI delivered considerable growth in turnover, operating profit and cash flow. A number of large projects in the order book, further strengthening of COWI's presence in core markets as well as the prospect of continued infrastructure investments foster positive expectations for the next year.

COWI's new growth strategy, One Step Ahead, which was launched at the beginning of 2016, has yielded results on both the top line and the bottom line: 

In 2016, the company generated a turnover of DKK 5,939 million, which represents an increase of six per cent compared to 2015. In addition, COWI delivered an operating profit of DKK 231 million, which is also a considerable improvement compared to 2015, namely an increase of 27 per cent. Lastly, the company's cash flow more than doubled, reaching DKK 228 million.

The result of the right strategy

President, CEO of COWI, Lars-Peter Søbye, is highly satisfied with the results: "For the 12th year running, we achieved growth in turnover. We met our earnings target and improved our cash flow considerably, providing financial strength and flexibility to further develop our business. It proves that we have set the right strategy for COWI and made the right choices regarding markets and sectors."

Transportation and urbanisation as market drivers
"Projects continue to increase in size and complexity. The large-scale urban development projects call for a holistic approach and competencies within a wide range of disciplines.

"When taking on these major projects, it's vital that we're able to swiftly set a team with the right competencies across sectors and geographies. With that in mind, identifying and utilising synergies across the organisation was a key priority for us in the first year of our new strategy. I'm very pleased that we succeeded in establishing the framework and culture that is needed for us to act as One COWI in the market," continues Søbye.

He largely attributes the winning of prestigious projects in 2016 to this approach: the transformation of the former post terminal site "Posten" in Copenhagen, Denmark; the West Link Project (Västlänken) in Gothenburg, Sweden; the European Spallation Source in Lund, Sweden; and the Lower Thames Crossing in the UK. The rebranding of COWI UK subsidiaries, Flint & Neill and Donaldson Associates, to COWI from 1st January 2017 further cements this One COWI message.

Positive expectations for the years to come
Despite important political events, especially in the UK and the US, which will continue to spur uncertainties on the global stage, COWI predicts that 2017 will be yet another year of growth:

"In 2016, we strengthened our presence further in our geographical core markets – Scandinavia, United Kingdom and North America. Combined with massive investments in infrastructure – current as well as planned – we expect to continue to grow in 2017.

Main and key figures for the COWI Group (DKKm)

Net turnover5,9395,577
Earnings before interests, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)396323
EBITDA margin6.7%5.8%
Operating profit (EBIT)231182
Operating margin (EBIT margin)3.9% 3.3%
Profit of the year before taxes247205
Profit of the year162131
Balance sheet total3,3313,007
Equity ratio34.1%33.7%
Cash flow from operations 228108
Number of employees as of 31 December 20166,5866,364


COWI, founded in 1930 in Denmark, is a leading international consulting company employing around 6,200 employees across a broad range of engineering and development disciplines.

Over the past 85 years, COWI has delivered over 85,000 projects in 124 countries, from 90 offices worldwide. These projects encompass a variety of business sectors including: Bridge, Tunnel and Marine; Railways, Roads and Airports; Structures; Economics; Management and Planning; Water and Environment; Geographical Information and IT.


In the UK, COWI is represented by three main business units covering bridge, tunnel and marine structures and are involved across a range of transportation, civil engineering and building sectors.  Building on a history of nearly 60 years in the UK there are currently around 300 employees delivering projects in the UK and worldwide.

LAST UPDATED: 02.03.2017