What a year! 2017 proved to be great for VEO in several ways. We had many successes, both in sales and in internal development projects.
I would be lying, if I said it has not been a busy year for everyone in our organisation. It has, however, also been amazing to see our personnel’s commitment to growth and project execution. I am so proud of their successes. That is the best part of being a CEO: to see people succeed and be able to show it to them and thank them for it.
Looking closer at last year, one great milestone for us was the acquisition of UK-based I.C.Electrical (ICE), which as a process nearly took a year. For a long time, we have been collaborating with ICE and know them as experts in electrification and automation. Now by making ICE a part of VEO, we can develop their EPC capabilities while they offer us a platform for growth in the UK. In this endeavour, we are truly combining the best British and Finnish expertise and can offer our British customers market-leading one-stop-shop electrification solutions!
With many great deals last year, VEO’s turnover grew by as much 15% from the year before. For 2018, we expect the same growth with 10% being organic and 5% coming from the UK. However, VEO does not grow for the sake of growing. When eyeing new markets, we examine our own competitiveness, we look for partnerships and go for reoccurring profitable deals. In our growth aspirations profitability comes first – that is why we grow. Nonetheless, there is clear demand for VEO’s growth. There is a need for companies that are able to take on turnkey project management. However, the threshold to it is high, as it takes skills, references and equity capital from anyone trying. VEO has all three and we have invested greatly in our international project management and planning capabilities.
Inevitably, VEO’s growth in different markets is making us a more international organisation. The acquisition of ICE has created a great deal of internal excitement and with our, now three, international branches we are able to offer our personnel interesting internationalisation opportunities and career advancement options.
VEO has transformed from a small entrepreneurial company to larger corporation.
At the same time, internationalisation also enables us to offer more jobs at our headquarters in Vaasa. Overall, VEO has transformed from a small entrepreneurial company to larger corporation. This means that we have to find and follow joint operations models and scale our functions to meet the new needs. This, in turn, brings a demand for specialised expertise, for which we now continuously train and recruit personnel. While VEO is gaining features of corporation, I would like to keep our entrepreneurship alive as a positive force of action and a balance between individual power and responsibilities.
Among our strengths, project management is important in all of our three core business fields: power generation, power distribution and power utilisation. We call these three fields our Power Cycle, and they are the anchors to our business and to our growth. Due to market trends and political decisions, one business field might be stronger than another at any point in time, but thanks to the Power Cycle we have the stability to continue to prosper. As for the markets themselves, we see important trends in all three fields. Firstly, in power generation, renewables continue advancing, moving us closer to a turning point. Here there is a clear need for VEO’s competences, which pivot on know-how and solutions for renewables and energy storage.
Secondly, another important trend is within power distribution, where we see the largest growth in the short-term. Globally, our power networks are not able to sustain the needed growth in energy supply, which means that power distribution lines are right now the bottleneck to future power generation. With blackouts now happening also in the Nordics and in other economically developed countries, we need more reliable distributions networks, meaning investments in the infrastructure. VEO has created solutions, such a modular substations, which effectively answer our customer’s challenges right now. It is great to be able to serve this cause and we believe in growth in this line of business.
Finally, in power utilisation, digitalisation is a megatrend that cannot be ignored. It enables efficient technological processes, which ultimately render welfare and a more sustainable tomorrow. Together with our partners, we are creating digitalised solutions to our products and developing our capabilities also in this field.
All in all, 2017 was a very good year for VEO and I see a great coming year this year as well. VEO is riding the waves of energy market megatrends and we look forward to seeing how far the waves go.