We have just celebrated our first year as a combined company following Salini’s merger with Impregilo – a year marked by hard but very productive work.
Not only did we beat the growth and profitability targets set for the year, but we also bolstered our order book, strengthened our capital structure and reduced our debt. All of this while successfully completing the merger of our two companies and creating a new organizational structure and corporate culture.
After this first year, we confirm our confidence in our ability to reach the ambitious targets set out in our 2014-2017 business plan.
We are staying focused on what makes up our DNA: large, complex civil engineering projects, especially in markets where the growth potential is very substantial.
Our focus is warranted: demand for civil infrastructure is growing faster than forecast. The estimated size of the identified projects in our segments of reference is more than €790 billion.
In 2014 alone, we received about €6.5 billion worth of new orders, bringing our total backlog to more than €32 billion. This confirms our leadership in large, complex infrastructure projects.
Among the projects acquired last year is the planned Brenner Tunnel between Italy and Austria, which recognizes our expertise in drilling underground. Once completed, the tunnel will be the longest underground rail connection in the world and a pioneering work of engineering. Then there is the new metro line in Lima, Peru, the one in Doha, Qatar, and the massive $20 billion network project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
The year also saw us begin to lay the foundations of the company that we want to become.
We streamlined operations, extracted valuable synergies, and strengthened our capital structure with a capital increase that boosted the free float to nearly 40% from 10%. Offering more shares to investors raised our profile in financial markets and made us a more attractive investment. This helped us in our efforts to become a truly global company.
Our attention to all stakeholders has grown in tandem with our expansion across the globe.
In October, we signed an important agreement with national and international unions to promote and respect workers’ rights, setting a precedent in the construction industry.
This agreement demonstrates how we recognize that the company’s greatest asset is its people – every one of the more than 34,000 designers, engineers, managers and other workers who represent Salini Impregilo in more than 50 countries.
All of them are competent and dedicated individuals who work on projects that help improve the quality of life of communities, whether it be a dam, a road or a railway.
Such is our optimism for the future that we have launched a campaign to hire 15,000 people during the life of our business plan. The new recruits, many of them young trainees, will eventually become managers who will lead our company into the future.
As part of its policy of social responsibility, Salini Impregilo is keen to transmit the value that they create for communities beyond the construction site.
We do not concentrate solely on our projects but pay heed to local communities needs and support them in the event of a disaster, as we are doing in Genoa by providing free to the city a project to secure the banks of the Bisagno River, which causes massive flooding when it overflows during heavy rainfall.
All of this makes me proud of our employees and their engagement. I am also grateful to our shareholders, who have shown their support for what we have done during our first year as a new company.
It is for this reason that I am confident in our future and our ability to continue to build value.