We successfully took ICT Group to the next level in 2017. Both in terms of scale, as we surpassed the milestones of 1,000 employees and € 100 million in revenue, but even more so in terms of our readiness for the future. By decisively embarking on our strategic road map for growth, we once again delivered on our promises. We recorded sustainable levels of growth, while making the world a little smarter every day.
Solid growth at sustainable profit levels
ICT Group recorded revenue of € 105.0 million in 2017, an increase of 17%, on the back of both recent acquisitions Nozhup and HTS, as well as organic growth of 7%. EBITDA for the year came in at € 12.0 million, reflecting a margin of 11.4%.
Real tech professionals
Being an employer of choice is vital to our success. ICT employees are real tech professionals, who get excited when challenged to come up with a solution to a complex problem or deliver an interesting project within budget and on time. So our ability to offer our employees complex and interesting projects is potentially the most important factor in attracting and retaining talent. A decentralised structure, with real responsibility at every level of the organisation is key to creating the culture in which our (potential) employees feel challenged and able to thrive. We scored well in terms of attracting and retaining talented people in 2017. We believe the investments we have made in our offices, improving the working space for our people, together with the investments in training and personal development are also helping us to recruit and retain the best people. We do our utmost to strive to continue achieve below industry attrition levels, which is challenging in a continuing tight labour market environment in the coming years.
A more powerful organisation
We made the completion of the organisational integration of Nozhup and HTS a top priority in 2017. To both make our new colleagues feel part of the ICT organisation and culture and to reap the full benefits of the combined companies. This resulted in a major step forward in our position in the industry and vital infrastructure sectors. Not only because we added new clients, but also because it enabled us to move up in the value chain. The integration, combined with continued investments in the organisation, resulted in a more powerful organisation – one that is ready to take sustainable growth to the next level.
Solid position in Industries, aiming for growth in Cities and Health
We significantly strengthened our position in Smarter Industries in 2017, fuelled in part by the acquisition of Nozhup. For 2018, our focus will be on strengthening our position in Smarter Cities and Smarter Health. We recently announced the acquisition of NedMobiel, a Netherlands-based expert consultancy company for complex infrastructures, which strengthened our position in Smarter Cities. We will continue to be very disciplined in our acquisition strategy.
We are convinced that Digital Transformation will be the key driver in taking ICT’s sustainable innovation to the next level. ICT put Digital Transformation at the heart of its new business development activities, servicing all industries. The combination of our highly specialised Digital Transformation expertise and our deep knowledge of our clients’ industries gives us an unique proposition. Last year, we saw a doubling of revenues from Digital Transformation and we are committed to the continued growth of this proposition.
ICT Group already services an international group of customers. Although we strongly believe that servicing our customers abroad does not necessarily require local presence, we are selectively looking at a number of regions in Europe where physical presence would be an advantage. For this reason, we opened an office in Belgium in the autumn of 2017.
Industry growth will be driven by multiple trends in 2018 and beyond, including the advent of Digital Transformation and blockchain technology. The battle for talent will continue and remains the biggest barrier to continued high growth rates. However, this will not prevent ICT from maintaining the highest standards, and we will continue to focus on quality rather than volume.
The ICT workforce of more than 1,000 colleagues includes over 30 nationalities. We will continue to recruit highly-skilled professionals from all over the world.
Another industry-wide challenge related to the shortage of highly-skilled people is to balance the increase in salaries with an increase in rates.
The rapid pace of technological developments requires a certain critical mass to operate at the forefront of these developments. This is why growth is once again our key objective for 2018. We will do this through our buy and build strategy and by constantly reinforcing our partnerships and entering into new collaborations. We try to do better each and every day, by continuously training and developing our people and by improving the performance and the quality of the products and solutions for our clients.
We could not make this happen without the dedication of our employees with their passion for technology. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone within ICT who contributed to our results this year, and I look forward to continue together to make the world a little smarter every day.
CEO ICT Group