Interview with Yves Meignié
In the sluggish economy, how did VINCI Energies fare in 2013?
This last year once again demonstrated the Group’s strength in all our business lines – infrastructure, industry, telecommunications and the service sector. The market remained flat in Europe and yet our revenue grew 2.6% and our operating income remained very high at 5.6%. It is also worth noting that the share of business that we generate outside France grew steadily as a result of our strategy of making VINCI Energies a multi-local network operating in five continents.
How do you account for this achievement?
We undoubtedly owe it to the strength of our model based on business unit networking. Our network is so extensive that we are able to offer our customers local and global solutions based on thorough knowledge of their processes, and to support them over the long term. Our customers call on us because they appreciate our professionalism, the quality of our work and our constant attention to safety on VINCI Energies worksites. Part of our success is also due to the agility of our decentralised model, which enables us to rapidly adapt to changing markets, to weather market downturns and then to rapidly take advantage of opportunities when markets pick up. These two aspects of our model supported our very good performance.
During the year, VINCI Energies strengthened its emphasis on its brands. Why this focus?
We introduced the brand policy 15 years ago. It consists in clearly identifying our offerings, which are supported by networks of business units that are leaders in their markets. This policy was well suited to customers seeking a provider that could meet their global needs while offering a strong local presence. We stepped up this strategy in 2013. Actemium is the brand that covers our business units specialising in industry and Omexom covers those that handle the power generation, transmission and distribution.
But VINCI Energies is more than its brands – Actemium, Axians, Citeos, Graniou, Omexom and VINCI Facilities – even though they will soon account for 60% of our volume. Our expansion is also based on our traditional local brands with roots in their geographical areas.
Energy, mobility, industrial productivity and telecommunications – VINCI Energies operates at the intersection of the main issues of our time. How do you address them?
We have segmented our business activities in line with these markets. In infrastructure, we operate in the transport and public lighting sectors and also in the entire electricity chain, where we support operators in rolling out smart grids. In industry, we offer the full range of capabilities required to optimise our customers’ production processes. In the service sector, where there is constant demand for energy efficiency, comfort, safety and security in buildings, we operate throughout the life cycle and across all the changes made to the structures. Lastly, no one needs to be told about the exponential growth of demand for telecommunications on the part of businesses, public authorities and individuals. In each of these markets we deliver solutions that are geared to these issues.
What growth drivers are you basing your expansion on?
With our track record in acquisitions, we will continue to expand our network and our range of services and expertise. VINCI Energies has doubled in size since 2010 and our strength lies in the fact that we are able to build new commercial synergies as we go. Outside Europe we have gained a foothold in countries with strong growth and a wealth of opportunities and we are prepared to follow our partners as they engage in projects all over the world. Our familiarity with our customers’ processes also gives us a major competitive advantage. It enables us to adapt to their needs and to build long-term relationships with them. But we continue to give priority to expanding our margins.
That strategy is in step with the VINCI Group’s strategy.
An increasing number of integrated bids are bringing together the various capabilities of the VINCI Group. Our expertise complements that of the other VINCI business lines. Through VINCI Energies, VINCI operates in the high-potential fields of telecommunications, industry and energy.
How do you see 2014 shaping up?
Clearly there is no sign of appreciable growth right now in Europe and the effects of the downturn that has lasted for several years now will continue to be felt. However, against that difficult
backdrop, we have every reason to remain calm. The markets in which we are positioned are buoyant in the long term and this tells us that our volume and our income are likely to hold steady
in the coming year. Our business units have a good order backlog. As we have always done, we will be fast on our feet to hold our own in the difficult areas and expand in the buoyant ones.