Consultant eyes major infrastructure work in Middle East, Russia and eastern Europe

Ramboll is restructuring to target major infrastructure projects internationally, the consultant’s UK boss has said, as the firm posted strong financial results.

Charles McBeath, UK managing director, said the Denmark-based consultant had set up a “strategic project team”, drawn from each part of the business, to target major infrastructure work.

McBeath said the team had identified the Middle East, Russia and eastern Europe as target markets, and the firm’s strategy was to capitalise on recent wins on large-scale projects, including the £1.5bn Forth Replacement Bridge crossing.

Major successes abroad will carry us through the difficult market conditions

Charles McBeath, Ramboll

McBeath said: “Major successes abroad will carry us through [difficult market conditions]. We’re focusing our minds on winning big strategic projects.”

Steve Canadine, head of markets and strategic projects, is leading the strategic team and has an executive board role at Ramboll.

McBeath added he was also restructuring the consultant’s UK business around projects rather than sectors wherever possible.

He said: “We are focusing the whole organisation on projects … the project takes precedence.

“We are appointing strategic project directors to head up our major jobs who can move across the different sector businesses.”

News of the restructure came as Ramboll posted strong results for 2011, boosted by its takeover of UK consultant Gifford last March.

Pre-tax profit rose 7% to €40m (£33m) in the year ending 31 December 2011, while turnover increased by 13%, from €814m to €925m.

Ramboll’s Gifford acquisition helped boost its year-on-year order book from €376m to €430m.

He said Ramboll was fortunate that its acquisition of Gifford was completed around the same time that its joint venture won the lead design role on the Forth crossing as “it was a project to wrap ourselves around”.

McBeath added the consultant was “watching” Libya with a view to a return but did not expect to go back “until at least 2013”.

Ramboll bought 14 companies in 2011 across the UK, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Poland, the largest of which was Gifford.