The global expert organization DEKRA is benefiting from its consistent strategic focus on the megatrend of safety and the internationalization of its business. In the 2013 financial year, revenues grew by 6.8% (7.3% when adjusted for currency effects) to €2.3 billion. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose by 10.5% to €162.7 million. The adjusted EBIT margin was improved to 7%. DEKRA aligned its accounting for the 2013 financial year more closely with the prevailing international financial standards (IFRS). Adjusting earnings figures for non-operating effects creates more transparency and comparability and shows operating earnings power more clearly. The international share in revenue increased further to more than a third (36.2%). The growth was generated by all three business units, Automotive, Industrial and Personnel, and was achieved organically and through acquisitions in roughly equal parts. The number of employees grew considerably by approximately 4,300 to nearly 32,600. The current year began positively: in the first quarter of 2014, revenue grew by around 13.8% to nearly €590 million. For the year as a whole, DEKRA expects a successful continuation of the company’s development. Thanks to the strong position in many markets and the rising demand for safety services, growth at the level of the previous year is expected in 2014.
“The consistent focus on our statutory safety mission and internationalization are the formula for the success of our positive global development,” DEKRA CEO Stefan Kölbl told journalists in Stuttgart on Thursday. Safety knows no boundaries. Therefore, the company transports its know-how all over the world: “We are thus continuously improving our global delivery capacity for our international clients,” explained DEKRA boss Stefan Kölbl. Acquisitions play an important role in this. Of ten takeovers in 2013, the majority occurred abroad, including in Sweden,
South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. As of 2013, DEKRA is therefore present on all five continents. The growth is also manifested in the number of employees, which climbed 15% to nearly 32,600. “I am delighted that we again strengthened our equity ratio while growing persistently and continuously. This makes a decisive contribution to the security of jobs at DEKRA,” said Roland Gerdon, DEKRA Management Board member for Finance, HR and IT.
Leading in Germany – expanding internationally
The revenue generated in the DEKRA Automotive business unit rose by 5.7% to €1.23 billion. Germany remains the most important market: DEKRA Automobil GmbH again performed very well with revenue of around €1 billion (including recurring industrial testing services). For the first time, more than nine million vehicles were inspected in Germany. Despite intense competition in vehicle inspection, the market share is approximately 34%. DEKRA is the market leader here as well as in the area of expertise.
With a total of 23 million vehicle inspections, DEKRA is also the leading vehicle testing organization worldwide. This position underlines the importance of internationalizing core automotive services. For example, in 2013, DEKRA acquired a majority in Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ), the number one in New Zealand. “With VTNZ, we have gained 80 inspection stations, 800 employees and approximately €50 million in revenue at one stroke,” said Stefan Kölbl.
Well positioned in growing markets
The DEKRA Industrial business unit continued to develop dynamically: revenue grew 5% in 2013 to €674.2 million. For example, business with business assurance, product testing & certification, consulting and material testing & inspection services developed successfully. DEKRA strengthened itself further in these fields by acquiring companies in South Africa, Australia and the Netherlands. Stefan Kölbl: “The DEKRA Industrial business unit is especially international with 85% of revenue generated abroad.”
Vigorous growth with HR services and qualifications
The Personnel business unit increased its revenue by 16.2% to approximately €390.3 million. “Both the DEKRA Academy and the DEKRA Arbeit Group grew gratifyingly strongly despite tough competition and against market trends,” said DEKRA CEO Stefan Kölbl happily. International markets are increasingly important for the DEKRA Personnel business unit as well. For example, the DEKRA Academy is conducting a pilot project in Greece for dual professional training in the tourism industry on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education. The objective is to improve employment opportunities for young Greeks and thus reduce the high youth unemployment rate. In Hungary, DEKRA is qualifying nurses in order to make up for the shortage in Germany. After completing the training, these nurses will work in German hospitals. At present, 300 skilled staff are already firmly reserved by six institutions throughout Germany. The DEKRA Arbeit Group is expanding the business with HR services in European markets from Spain to Turkey. In addition, more skilled staff are being brought to Germany from abroad.
Safety mission benefits society
“We are consistently pursuing our safety mission. By doing so, we not only tap into new growth potential but also bring about concrete benefits to society,” explained Stefan Kölbl. In the DEKRA Automotive business unit, the expert organization is looking increasingly at pedestrians and other road users alongside car drivers. At the DEKRA Technology Center in Klettwitz, Brandenburg, a new test bench has commenced operations. It can test electronic driver assistance systems in order to protect pedestrians even in the development phase. DEKRA is thus supporting the accelerated introduction of these safety systems in production models. This will contribute to an increase in pedestrian safety. At the moment, every fifth traffic fatality in the EU is a pedestrian. In the DEKRA Industrial business unit, DEKRA has become an internationally recognized expert for material testing in the space of a few years. Thanks to this expertise, the company has been appointed to the European Commission’s PETROBOT consortium, in which a group of leading firms is developing robots to perform dangerous inspections in pressure vessels and tanks in the future. In the DEKRA Personnel business unit, new services are increasingly being conceived on the basis of internet technology. “The internet is revolutionizing the way we learn,” said Kölbl. “For example, we are using it to communicate occupational health and safety information in a legally compliant manner.” DEKRA offers employers an internet platform for this purpose, the DEKRA Safety Web. The solution was certified as the first occupational health and safety portal for online tuition by the German Statutory Accident Insurance organization.
Outlook 2014: uninterrupted growth trend
DEKRA will continue its long-term upward trend in 2014. “With a bit of economic tailwind, we will again grow significantly on the national and international stage and improve our key figures,” said Kölbl. International delivery capacity for global clients is to be developed further. The DEKRA CEO described the latest capacity increase due to the opening of the new laboratory for product testing and certification in Arnheim in the Netherlands as an important milestone on this path: “With the new centre and our global laboratory network, we are in the best position in this growing market.” The DEKRA boss expects business stimuli from the strengthened internal linking of areas of expertise, for example in process and organisational safety: The service unit DEKRA Insight serves global oil, gas and process industry clients as one of the world’s leading safety consultants from the USA, Great Britain and Australia.
In DEKRA growth regions like North America and Asia-Pacific, the international expert organization wants to grow organically with core automotive services and services relating to the safety of production facilities and electronic components. In addition, Stefan Kölbl announced further acquisitions, with which DEKRA wants to secure or build on its position as a leading provider in important markets and regions. “DEKRA will continue down the road taken and work consistently on making the world a safer place.”
DEKRA SE is one of the world’s leading expert organisations. The company currently runs activities in more than 50 countries. More than 32,000 employees are committed to ensuring long-term safety, quality and environmental protection. The DEKRA Business Units “Automotive”, “Industrial” and “Personnel” provide professional and innovative services in the fields of vehicle inspection, expertise, claims services, system certification, product testing & certification, industrial & construction inspection, consulting, qualification and temporary work. In 2013, DEKRA generated sales totaling approximately 2.3 billion Euros.