I am proud of our projects and technological solutions that help make the world a little bit ‘smarter’ every day. But above all I am proud of the over 1,250 techies who make a difference for our customers by combining their expertise and specialist knowledge of the industry. This combination gives us a unique position in the market. And needless to say that we continue to develop: 40 years old and still learning!
Healthy profitable growth
2018 was another year of revenue and profit growth. In addition to organic growth of 6%, mainly due to favourable developments in the Netherlands, ICT also grew as a result of acquisitions in 2018. Our underlying EBITDA margin of 11% and revenue of € 129.9 million show we are delivering on the profitability and healthy growth we promised.
Strengthening Smarter Cities
2018 began with the completion of our acquisition of NedMobiel. In March 2018 we purchased the remaining 50% stake in InTraffic from our former joint venture partner, meaning that InTraffic is now 100% part of ICT. These acquisitions have enabled us to clearly strengthen our position in Smarter Cities – a domain we strongly believe in given all the mobility challenges facing the world – and to further expand our consultancy activities.
Proprietary software to fuel Digital Transformation
The establishment of OrangeNXT in 2018 has helped us take an important step towards also using our specific knowledge and expertise for the development of our own, proprietary, software. Marketing this Software as a Service is an important strategic spearhead for ICT. OrangeNXT combines our expertise in every relevant domain – e.g. Industrial IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and mobile workforce automation. We use the state-of-the-art solutions created by OrangeNXT to support our customers in their digital transformation. Digital transformation is a key driver of change, both in day-to-day life and in our production environments, and a development that the government and companies alike are focusing on. One that calls for precisely what we are good at: connecting people, devices and data.
Motar – responding to the emergence of low coding
Software is becoming a growing part of virtually every product and machine. One development in response to this is low coding: the creation of software code in a largely automated way. That means developing software by modelling instead of coding, resulting in fewer mistakes, lower costs and a quicker timeto-market. With Motar, ICT is responding to this development in areas including the high-tech and automotive industries.
Challenging labour market
Recruiting enough suitable staff is something that has been and continues to be a challenge. In 2018 we were able to attract more people than ever. We are making better use of social media and other tools to show the kinds of challenging projects you can be part of at ICT. And this has proved to be successful because interesting projects are exactly what attracts professionals with a passion for technology. It is also helping us reach international professionals better, a target group that is becoming increasingly important in our recruitment activities. Already half of all new employees are not Dutch. The influx of young global thinkers provides a better staffing balance for us to serve our international customers. At the same time we have been able to limit the outflow of staff.
ICT generates an increasing part of its revenue from projects. In 2018 we once again developed many groundbreaking solutions for and with customers. Using the asphalt damage recognition solution we created for BAM Infra we have developed a new product in co-creation with BAM that we plan to roll out in the coming years. This is a great example not only of us working together with traditional partnersbut also of a customer becoming a business partner. Another project that has a major impact is the Zuidasdok project aimed at redeveloping the Zuidas business district of Amsterdam. We have been involved in this project since early in the design phase. Our Smarter Cities / multi-domain expertise is put to best use tackling the complexity of projects like these. ICT Netherlands is not our only company that is developing by increasingly taking full control of projects; our training and testing subsidiary Improve Quality Services is also showing this changing business behaviour. Improve Quality Services and ICT Netherlands have developed the ASML Academy and, in doing so, are responsible for the onboarding process for developers at ASML. New recruits are taken through every aspect of their new work environment in 12 weeks. This takes place at three locations around the world: Eindhoven (the Netherlands), Wilton (NY, USA) and San Diego (CA, USA).
Develop the Future
During the Capital Markets Day in November, the first ever in ICT’s history, we presented our new strategic roadmap for 2022: ‘Develop the Future’. Our strategic review confirmed that we are operating in a healthy growth market with our focus on Operational Technology, with international expansion being an important element of our future growth strategy. International expansion will be focused on northern European countries. Furthermore we are using OrangeNXT to target high-growth market segments. And our Software as a Service solutions are helping our customers leverage all the possibilities provided by digital transformation. To be able to deal with the growing shortage of professionals we are also focused on further expanding our nearshoring facilities A new strategy calls for new objectives. In 2022 we want to achieve annual revenue of € 200 – € 230 million with a stable EBITDA margin (10 – 12%), both through organic growth (of at least 5%) and acquisitions.
Our ability to achieve our objectives depends on our largest critical success factor – our people. I am extremely grateful for the dedication and contribution of our employees this past year. Our customers have entrusted us with interesting – often business-critical – projects for 40 years now, projects in which the relationship increasingly evolves into a partnership. We look forward to continuing to execute our strategic roadmap with them and our ever growing number of professionals. After all, the next 40 years will also be an exciting time to keep making the world a little bit smarter.
CEO ICT GROUP