In 2021, all construction businesses were brought together within a single business line. What added value do you now offer?
By bringing together an unparalleled array of expertise in the construction of buildings, civil engineering structures and infrastructure, the new VINCI Construction business is ramping up its ability to support shifts in markets and trades at a time when the environmental transition, digital revolution and evolving practices and preferences are raising new questions about what to build and how to build it.
Our structure, based on three complementary pillars – major projects, specialty networks and proximity networks – optimises our market coverage worldwide. In terms of management, that structure also facilitates cooperation across entities while enabling each of the 1,300 companies in our business to operate largely independently.
This new structure is mostly founded on the excellence of your employees, as well as team spirit and a capacity for action. Is that one of your priorities?
Ensuring the safety of VINCI Construction’s people and their ability to work and develop their talents by working as a team is indeed our priority. Once again, in 2021, individually and collectively, they demonstrated their dedication to construction as an answer to the challenges met by the towns, regions and countries where we operate. We are passionate about building and we like to find solutions to our customers’ problems. We believe that dialogue with stakeholders is essential to the success of our projects. That is why we fully take them into account in how we carry out our projects and operate our production sites.
How did VINCI Construction perform in 2021 and what is the outlook for 2022?
After feeling the effects of the pandemic in 2020, 2021 saw a significant recovery, outperforming pre-crisis levels in some areas. Our revenue rose by 13.5% to €26.3 billion, up almost 5% over 2019. The Ebit margin rate was also higher than in 2020 and increased to 3.7% of revenue – 30 basis points up over 2019. Our order book, which stood at its highest level ever in late 2021 at €33.4 billion, includes a proportion of orders revolving around our core activities larger than in 2020, demonstrating the strength of our local business units in all regions and confirming the resilience of our business. The impressive size of our order book will keep us operating at very high levels in 2022 and, essentially, enable us to be very selective when taking on new business.
“VINCI Construction has stepped up the rollout of its environmental policy.”
Your environmental ambition follows three axes in line with the key challenges faced by your businesses – climate change, circular economy and the preservation of natural environments. Where do you stand with regard to each of these subjects?
We stepped up the implementation of our environmental policy through action plans adapted to each of our business lines.
To reduce the carbon footprint of our business activities (8% down in Scopes 1 and 2 since 2019), we started rolling out a programme to overhaul our asphalt plants by implementing the use of lower-carbon fuels and machinery and significantly reducing emissions. Likewise, we are progressively introducing high energy efficiency facilities on our worksites, trialling hybrid and electric construction machinery with manufacturers or leasers. We are also developing our own low-carbon machinery such as the first compact electric Hydrofraise® with grippers, designed by Soletanche Bachy.
What’s more, in association with Leonard – VINCI Group’s forward-looking innovation platform – and partners in its innovation ecosystem, we are developing products that help reduce the environmental impact of our projects; the introduction of optimised Exegy® solutions with low‑carbon concrete and of Rehaskeen®, a comprehensive facade insulation system designed for the industrialscale thermal renovation of buildings.
Regarding circular economy, we offer highly efficient solutions for recycling materials, including through the Granulat+ brand in France and on-site road surface recycling systems for road refurbishment projects. In our building and civil engineering operations, we are also developing digital solutions and design methods that help reduce the volume of materials used and facilitate their reuse.
In order to preserve natural environments, we are rolling out solutions and services covering ecological engineering (particularly through the Equo Vivo® brand) and urban biodiversity (Urbalia®) while working closely alongside nature conservation organisations and experts to protect biodiversity at our quarries and worksites.
Our world is changing more quickly than ever. How can we rise to the challenges that we are now facing?
In 2020 and 2021, we showed great responsiveness and a capacity to adapt when faced with the impact of Covid-19. Beyond this resilience to the pandemic, VINCI Construction also benefitted from buoyant trends in all its markets, driven by growing demand for the construction, renovation and transformation of buildings, living environments and infrastructure. When it comes to the environment, for example, which represents one of the most important transitions of our time, we clearly are part of the solution. Indeed, whether we are building infrastructure for low-carbon mobility – such as tramways, railway lines and even pedestrian areas – or green energy, redeveloping buildings or creating new ones in line with more stringent environmental standards, saving materials through resource-efficient structural design, establishing new recycling platforms, building or redeveloping hydraulic infrastructure, or carrying out ecological engineering and rewilding operations, we are here. Our activities with a positive environmental impact already account for half of our total revenue.
To ensure we stay one step ahead, we must continue recreating, rethinking and reinventing what we build and how we build it.