Brussels, 26 April 2023 – BESIX Group has released its financial results for the full year ending 31 December 2022. The company delivered a positive performance across most key metrics, reflecting its continued focus on delivering sustainable revenue and operational excellence. This is specifically the case for real estate, concessions and specialised activities, who posted strong profitability. Contracting activities for their part still experienced some constraints, exacerbated by the challenges of inflation and the rising prices of materials and energy. Going forward, pursuing quality projects, growing its recurring income business, and inevitably introducing fair price revision mechanisms in new contracts and compensation mechanisms for price escalation in current contracts, will be the keys to steady performance.
“Despite the challenges posed in 2022, we successfully navigated the turbulent times and played an active role in stimulating economic growth in the regions where we operate. Our expertise and capability to manage complex challenges allowed us to participate in major projects, secure new contracts, and deliver remarkable projects. This year's success can be attributed to our diversification strategy, which once again proved to be relevant. Our concessions in the Middle East, specialising in private-public partnerships in water and waste, and our Western Europe infrastructure and utilities entities, as well as our real estate development division, have performed exceptionally well. Moving forward, we remain vigilant in the face of ongoing economic challenges. Our focus stays on expanding our recurring income business and pursuing high-quality projects with healthy margins and balanced risk-distribution, that align with our diversification strategy.” – Pierre Sironval, Chief Executive Officer.
“We are on track to achieve normalised performance thanks to our impressive order book that is comprised of high-quality projects. Our positive balance sheet and cash reserves put us in a favourable position to continue delivering exceptional service to our clients and communities. Our strategy remains focused on diversification, with contracting as our main area of activity, and auxiliary businesses contributing positively to our revenue stream, especially in the field of concessions, real estate, or operations and maintenance. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the members of the executive team for their leadership and express our unwavering confidence in all our employees worldwide.” – Johan Beerlandt, Executive Vice-Chairman.
Contracting, which remains BESIX Group's main activity, was marked by the delivery of magnificent projects in each of its markets. BESIX Group’s Contracting business across the world generated a revenue of 3,116 million euros. As a result of the challenging market conditions, the Contracting segment weighed negatively on the group’s global results.
2022 oversaw the completion of numerous impressive projects in Belgium, such as the new Police office in Antwerp, a major rail project in Diepenbeek built by BESIX and BESIX Infra and the renovation of Belgium’s longest road tunnel, the 2,600-metre-long Annie Cordy tunnel, which is followed by a 25-year maintenance period. Mobility projects also included a new bicycle parking facility in Leuven, adding 4,000 bicycle parking spaces, as well as a bicycle highway connecting Brussels to Leuven. Finally, BESIX completed three office and co-living buildings in Liège's Paradis Express eco-district for Befimmo. The Oosterweel project, Belgium's largest infrastructural and urban development project, made steady progress, especially in the Zeebrugge dock where tunnels elements are being built. Additionally, the renewal of the Henneau bridge on the Brussels ring road reached an important milestone with the installation of the first of two new 800-tonne steel bridges.
In France, BESIX delivered the Nice Airport Promenade flagship project in the city’s new business district, opposite Terminal 1 of the airport. BESIX also completed a 28,000 m² high-end medical facility in the heart of Neuilly-sur-Seine. The Deloitte University EMEA campus, situated west of Paris, is approaching delivery. The Saint-Denis Pleyel station, which is part of the Grand Paris Express public transport project in the metropolitan area, experienced an unprecedented peak of activity in 2022 with underground and above-ground work in full swing. Lastly, the Tour Triangle project, also in Paris, has progressed steadily with the execution of all foundation works.
BESIX also delivered outstanding projects in the Netherlands, including the sustainable and iconic landmark Sluishuis in Amsterdam and the Grotius Towers in the centre of The Hague. BESIX continued major road, tunnelling and bridge works on the A16 project in northern Rotterdam. BESIX is part of the consortium De Groene Boog, which is in charge of the design, building, financing as well as the maintenance over 20 years of this new motorway. In Amsterdam, BESIX also made strong progress on the Mediavaert project, the new headquarters of DPG Media in the Netherlands. This sustainable building will be one of the world’s largest buildings with a hybrid timber structure.
In Luxembourg, BESIX and affiliate LuxTP completed, early 2023, the breathtaking ICÔNE office building in Belval by Foster + Partners; while in Italy, work on the Valfabbrica state road 318 infrastructure project progressed well in 2022. The four excavation fronts of the two tunnels were opened, and more than 300 metres on the Casacastalda tunnel and around 100 metres on the Picchiarella tunnel were dug.
In 2022, BESIX delivered the Infinity Bridge to Dubai’s Road & Transport Authority as well as the Deep Tunnel Storm Water System to the Dubai Municipality. This 10-kilometre-long, 11-metre-diameter tunnel, buried up to 45 metres below the ground, drains 40 % of Dubai’s urban area. The company also booked major progress in Abu Dhabi on two magnificent museum projects, which are part of the emirate’s development strategy to be a cultural epicentre: the Sheikh Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. In Dubai, the end of the year was celebrated with the delivery of the Atlantis The Royal Hotel & Residences, a mega-project that stands 43 floors tall and covers 387,097 square meters. Moreover, the BESIX teams reached the final height of the Dubai Uptown Tower at 340 metres.
BESIX further cemented its position as a sustainable energy player in the region by successfully commissioning the Ajman Sludge-to-Energy project and generating 2.4 MW. Additionally, Dubai Waste-to-Energy continued its steady progress, reaching 85 % completion with the aim of achieving first fire by starting the operation of two lines in the Spring of 2023.
Australia & New Zealand
At the Te Kaha multi-use stadium in Christchurch (New Zealand), major construction works commenced in 2022 and the collaborative model set up with the City enabled upfront allocation of risk to appropriate parties. Close work with the City authorities was also key on the Kangaroo Point Green Bridge project in Brisbane, to navigate alternative solutions for the project’s initial phase, and in Sydney, where the Barangaroo Metro Station Project team developed innovative design solutions for the client, including acceleration measures to ensure delivery of the project in advance of initial program phases. Moreover, BESIX Watpac made strong progress towards the delivery of the GPO Hotel Redevelopment in Adelaide. Finally, at the very end of the year, construction started for the Garden Drive Microsoft Data Centre in Victoria.
The Vistula Spit shipping channel in Poland which connects the Baltic Sea to the Elbag port was successfully handed over to the client at the end of the summer. The works of the new Rail Baltica Riga central station in Latvia progressed well and its first phase is planned to be completed by the end of 2023.
The Grand Egyptian Museum is nearing delivery while in Morocco, the prestigious Mohammed VI Tower has reached its culminating point at 250 metres above ground.
BESIX is also progressing on the F Tower, a high-rise building in Ivory Coast in the Plateau district in the heart of Abidjan. Two other projects made steady progress in 2022 and will be completed during 2023 in the same city: the iconic ‘Parc des Expositions’, as well as the tunnel under the roundabout of the Abobo city hall, a part of a major road infrastructure which will dramatically improve accessibility of the Abidjan metropolitan area.
The Nachtigal hydropower dam and plant in Cameroon has also impressively progressed throughout the year and the client NHPC (with EDF and the government of Cameroon as major shareholders) is expecting to deliver the first MW to the Cameroon energy grid before the end of 2023.
BESIX Group's regional and specialised subsidiaries contributed around 1.2 billion euros, or 35 %, to the Group's revenues.
Some highlights from these Belgian and Luxembourg subsidiaries are:
Works by Wust that began on the Albert II Institute of the Saint-Luc University Clinics in Brussels were inaugurated in the presence of King Albert II himself in June 2022. Wust also delivered a new grandstand for the Spa-Francorchamps circuit that same summer, while LuxTP, in association with BESIX, delivered the emblematic ICÔNE building in Belval, Luxembourg. Vanhout delivered the Louise Marie residences, the new landmark building with stunning glass features in Antwerp. Jacques Delens moved forward on the Petite Senne projet in the heart of Brussels, with the creation of a new public space and the construction of a crèche for 72 children.
In March 2022, Van den Berg and Agidens Infra Automation joined forces to rebrand into BESIX Unitec. In addition, the large 'Fiber To The Home' project got underway, i.e. the installation of fibre optic cable connections into private homes, on behalf of major telco operators in Belgium. In 2022, BESIX Infra worked on several complex inner-city projects involving the multi-phase construction of new sewer systems, with major attention paid to nuisance reduction, in various parts of the country. Socogetra was involved in major motorway refurbishment projects, as well as in complex and comprehensive railway activities. Franki Foundations’ 2022 highlights were the piling works at the Tour Triangle project in Paris and a major new contract for INEOS in the port of Antwerp.
On the financial side, BESIX Unitec, Socogetra, BESIX Infra and LuxTP remain on the good trajectory of recent years and the entities that were underperforming in previous years have shown clear signs of recovery.
Despite the challenging and uncertain business environment, BESIX RED closes 2022 with unprecedented financial results. The real estate developer records a turnover of 191.5 million euros, a return on equity of 47.2 % and a diversified pipeline of 33 projects under development in 19 cities across Europe.
2022 was marked by significant achievements across Europe, including:
In 2022, the group’s concessions business continued to generate stable, long-term cash flows from high-quality infrastructure assets.
In Europe, construction of the Post X LPA police station in Antwerp reached its final stages in 2022. BESIX was in charge of the financing, design and construction of the building, which has been delivered in the spring of 2023. BESIX is responsible for its maintenance over a period of 25 years.
BESIX also secured its first environmental PPP project in Europe, a contract to design, build, finance, operate and maintain for Aquafin a large sewage sludge processing installation in Ghent, in partnership with Indaver.
In the Middle East, construction of the Warsan Waste-to-Energy project in Dubai is progressing well, with the first firing scheduled for the spring of 2023. In Abu Dhabi, BESIX's consortium with Plenary Group was awarded the Zayed City Schools PPP project, which covers the financing, design, procurement, construction, commissioning and 20-year operations and maintenance of three new state-of-the-art school campuses with a total capacity of 5,360 students, set to open for the school year 2024-2025. In the region, BESIX has continued to tender and prepare for more PPP projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as well as in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
For the hospitality assets in Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland in which BESIX is a co-developer and investor, the year 2022 saw the return to occupancy levels and financial performance to levels observed before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the sector. All assets are back to delivering substantial cash flows, and the local management teams have set ambitious targets for the years to come.
As an international multi-service group, BESIX is fully aware that it has a responsibility towards its clients, employees, and towards the communities in which it operates. The group is strongly committed to actively contribute to the transition to a low-carbon society, which requires ambitious measures in internal policies, supply chain and service offering in design, construction and long-term management to improve the sustainability of both clients' projects and own real estate development and concession projects. The BESIX Group Citizenship & Sustainability Charter serves as the reference to determine the Group Citizenship & Sustainability objectives and to assess its achievements. It can be consulted here.
Several commitments were signed in 2022, such as the signature of the ‘concrete agreement’ (‘betonakkoord’) in Belgium or of the UN Global Compact by BESIX Watpac in Australia. Continued investment in aug·e and BuildUp also demonstrates BESIX’s commitment to take controlled risks by investing in sustainable solutions.
The year 2022 was also marked by the certification at the level 5, the highest score, on the CO2 Performance Ladder for BESIX and 11 of its entities in Belgium, France and The Netherlands. This certification proves the group’s commitment and capability in decreasing its CO2 emissions.
In 2022, the EcoVadis sustainability scorecard that provides a comprehensive assessment of a company’s environmental and social performance based on criteria such as environmental impact, labour practices, fair business practices and sustainable procurement, has rated BESIX as ‘Gold’.
BESIX has also pursued the progressive electrification of its fleet. The company invested in 2022 in a 100 % electric telescopic crawler crane. With a load capacity of up to 50 tonnes and a reach of up to 43 meters, this zero-emission crane is capable of working unplugged for 10 hours.
Also, in the field of decarbonisation, a four-week test has been run during which one of the largest tower cranes of BESIX’s equipment fleet, has been fuelled on green hydrogen. Learnings from this test will serve as a basis for further search for solutions to reduce on-site CO2 emissions.
BESIX remains committed to promoting the health and safety of its employees and stakeholders, with a strong focus on People and safety initiatives.
In 2022, BESIX’s core safety principles were further promoted, with a total of 452 safety ambassadors active at the end of the year. This is the largest figure since the initiative started. In addition, 3,870 safety walkabouts, which aim at enhancing safety ownership with all project staff and subcontractors, were organised. To power these figures and further enhance the company’s QHSE performance, BESIX introduced a new digital solution in 2022, called OASIS, which facilitates the management of all QHSE-related processes and risks for its staff.
BESIX Group was also particularly proud to hear or read representatives of the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), trade unions and NGOs mention the group in the media as the example to follow in the Middle East in terms of respecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers. BESIX enforces strict and high-level safety policies on all its sites around the world, thus also in the Middle East. This was also widely recognised, notably by the BWI, whose Secretary General has stated in the Belgian media that BESIX's safety policies in the Middle East are equal to those in Western Europe.
Occupational health and safety are a priority policy for BESIX Group in each country it operates. This is why BESIX signed the Declaration for safe and healthy workplaces, and actively supported the recognition in 2022 of occupational health and safety as a fundamental right in the International Labour Organisation’s standards.
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November and December 2022 was the opportunity for BESIX Group to reiterate its firm commitment to protect and promote the well-being and safety of its migrant workers, by applying high standards, similar to the Belgian ones, and by bringing its partners and subcontractors to apply them in turn.
The framework agreement linking BESIX Group and the Building and Wood Workers' International includes an independent mechanism to monitor BESIX Group's human rights practices, with free access for BWI to construction sites and to migrant workers' housing. In this context, the BWI organises independent missions to ensure effective monitoring of BESIX Group's compliance and efforts in the field of health and safety at work.
With 86 nationalities working in 25 different countries across 5 continents in 2022, diversity is central in BESIX Group’s DNA. In this context, the company published the book Together, in which more than 100 members of the company who are united in their passion and pride, all from their very own perspective and identity which makes them truly unique, are presented.
In 2022, BESIX Group onboarded 1,047 new hires and had a total employment number of 12,063 people worldwide. The group was also designated as a Top Employer in Belgium for the fourth consecutive year.
BESIX Engineering, the 150+ engineers strong in-house design office, specialises in the development of advanced solutions aimed at enhancing the environmental performance of construction projects. BESIX's sustainability experts work in tandem with the design teams to ensure that projects receive high environmental certifications and labels such as BREEAM, LEED, HQE, Passive Buildings, Eco-construction, Cradle-to-Cradle, Zero-Energy, etc.
During the design process, BESIX places significant emphasis on the level of carbon dioxide emissions, recognising it as a critical factor to be evaluated in the environmental impact of each project. The design team aims to minimise each project's carbon footprint by reducing CO2 emissions throughout its lifecycle. This is achieved by utilising materials with low embodied carbon, improving energy efficiency, incorporating renewable energy sources and designing assets with disassembly, adaptability and recycling in mind.
Finally, BESIX is active in several Research & Development initiatives, notably with academic bodies and suppliers, that test a variety of methods and materials to boost material circularity and reduce the environmental impact of concrete. End 2022, BESIX affiliate Vanhout was the first contractor in Belgium to start using Carbstone building blocks, a future-oriented alternative to classic concrete bricks, to renovate an office building in Mechelen.
Innovation remained a key theme for BESIX in 2022, with the company investing in new technologies and digital solutions to stay at the forefront of the industry. BESIX has currently 7 start-up investments in its portfolio in areas such as asset management, off site construction, digitisation, energy efficiency and flexibility, circularity and sustainability.
For instance, BuildUp, a Belgian start-up, in which BESIX and Vanhout hold a 40 % stake. BuildUp is a pioneer in off-site construction in Belgium and France and specialises in both new buildings and energetic renovation of existing buildings, or so-called retrofitting. Recently, BuildUp participated in 2 large-scale renovations of 192 occupied social houses in Northern France (Roubaix, Wattrelos) in a record pace. After the façades and roofs were produced in their off-site location, the houses were renovated in only 24 hours. By adding solar panels and a heat pump, all the houses were made completely energy neutral.
Another example is aug·e, where BESIX and Proximus (the Belgian digital service and communication provider) joined forces to develop a smart energy software platform with the ambition to help millions of people to become more energy efficient. By combining data on buildings, energy market spot prices, weather forecasts, connected electrical vehicles, etc. with artificial intelligence algorithms, aug·e is already bringing more comfort for a lower energy invoice to many Belgian and Dutch energy consumers and producers.
Going forward, the company will further secure participation in a European PropTech VC fund by Summer 2023, to be able to swiftly identify cutting-edge solutions and continue to enable BESIX to offer future-proof, innovative and sustainable solutions to its clients and partners.
The year 2023 holds promising prospects for the group around the globe, as major projects are set to launch, and several significant projects are nearing completion. The diversity and quality of the BESIX Group’s order book are promising for the years to come as it has reached a record level of 5.2 billion euros.
However, the industry continues to grapple with challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. These factors have contributed to the inflationary pressures and rising prices of materials and energy, which have impacted the construction industry on a macroeconomic level.
Given the current scenario, it is imperative that the industry responds to these challenges by pushing for balanced contractual conditions, introducing clear and transparent price revision formulas in new contracts and compensation mechanisms for price escalation in current contracts, which are aligned with inflation.
This is essential to ensure that the industry remains financially viable and continues to deliver high-quality projects while taking into account the increased costs of materials and energy.
Going forward, the company’s focus will be to pursue quality projects in the marine and civil infrastructure, while growing its diversified recurring income business inside its ecosystem and further anchor its regional, specialised activities.
“We are confident in our ability to deliver sustainable growth and value creation for our stakeholders over the long term”, said Pierre Sironval. “We remain focused on delivering quality outcomes for our customers, while promoting responsible business practices and driving innovation across our operations.”
In the year 2023, BESIX's real estate division will turn 35, while its Australian affiliate, BESIX Watpac, marks 40 years, its Luxembourg affiliate, LuxTP, celebrates 50 years, and its specialised affiliate, Socogetra, commemorates 75 years. Throughout these many decades, the BESIX Group has made enduring contributions to the communities in which it operates by building schools, hospitals, railways, bridges, water treatment stations, museums and other important infrastructure and buildings. These milestone anniversaries are a testament to the Group's robust and enduring organisational structure, which bodes well for the continued success of its operations.