Financial Performance

We achieved a very strong set of financial results in 2023. Operational income grew in line with our strategic goals. It was driven by our Global Leading Markets and the Netherlands, some delivering double-digit growth. Profitability improved considerably and our operational result (EBITA recurring) jumped to €51.6 million (2022: €29.8 million). As an employee-owned company, our people will share in the success through a record shareholders return.
Market conditions were variable, particularly due to geopolitical and economic uncertainty. Inflation remained high and impacts of climate change accelerated. Our exceptional performance in such an environment confirms the strength of our strategy and that the right choices were made to focus our business on nine Global Leading Markets and the Netherlands.
The outlook for our organisation in 2024 is positive. Our financial position is solid. We have a strong order book. Our team of dedicated and talented colleagues are united in a common purpose to Enhance Society Together.

Operating income and growth

Operating income increased by 5% to €736 million in 2023 (2022: €699 million), organic growth was 7% (2022: 10%). Four of our five business lines contributed to operating income growth. Our business line Southern Africa continued to face difficult market conditions and our business line Digital continued to work on improving their performance.
Added value growth was 8% (2022: 12%) with organic added value growth being 10% (2022: 9%) yielding an added value of €606 million. Over the course of 2023 we can report strong sales which translated into utilisation rates in line with expectations.


We achieved a strong increase in profitability. EBITA recurring ended the year at €51.6 million, significantly above €29.8 million in 2022. Inflation remained high through the year – although lower than peak levels reached during 2022. Across the organisation, a focus on simplifying business processes and containing costs kept internal expenditure at reasonable levels.
We changed the way to calculate operating margin to align with industry norms (EBITA recurring / Added value) (also see Key Figures). Operating margin based on added value is 8.5% (2022: 5.3%). Our net result almost doubled to €24.8 million (2022: €13.7 million).

Global opportunities

As an organisation, we continually increase productivity and innovation by adopting new digital ways of working. In 2023, we further explored the role Artificial Intelligence can play in innovation and efficiency. This is important for the way we carry out our business as well as the products and services we offer. Software and technology are also in demand from our clients, often as an integral part of more traditional engineering, design and consultancy projects. Our digital and software business strengthens our propositions in digital consulting and acts as the playmaker in large complex projects. In comparison to our engineering, design and consultancy business, the financial contribution made by our Business Line Digital is fairly small. The digital consultancy it offers alongside expertise in software development are of strategic importance in spearheading our digital innovation and futureproofing our business. In 2023, we repositioned our Business Unit Software to align it more closely with our Global Leading Markets.

Cash position

Our financial position is healthy, with an equity ratio of 48% (2022: 46%) and a cash position of €181 million at the end of the year (2022: €147 million). We operate well within our bank covenants. The outlook for 2024 is positive with a sound order book of €333 million (2022: €346 million) – the drop being caused by the fact that the South African operation became a local company, majority owned by management and employees – and many new projects in prospect.
Our free cash flow in 2023 was €33.8 million (2022: €28.4 million negative). During the year, we invested €12 million in renovations and refurbishment to create what will be an inspirational Paris-proof office within a beautiful historic building in Delft. Investment will continue through 2024 and the new office is expected to open towards the end of the year. Our days sales outstanding (DSO) remained the same at 73 days (2022: 73).