The French group, which specializes in technical control and risk management, has just made two acquisitions across the Channel. It now generates more than half of its turnover abroad.
Socotec continues its international breakthrough by strengthening itself in Great Britain. The French group, specializing in technical control and risk management in the field of construction, infrastructure and industry, ended its year 2022 by making two new acquisitions there.
Socotec has just taken over a national British player, Quadrant Building Control, ie 16 offices and 140 engineers and experts. In addition, the group acquired a small operator based in Sussex, Shore.
Overall, its British subsidiary employs more than 200 professionals, bringing the number of employees dedicated to building control to 600 for a total workforce of Socotec UK which now reaches 2,000 people. Moreover, its turnover is now close to 200 million pounds, of which nearly 40 million in “Building Control”.
While this market remains fragmented in the United Kingdom, Socotec even claims to be “number one in construction technical control on the British market”, with a share of 15 to 20%: “The British market for “Building control” is order of 400 million pounds, which is comparable to the French market, but the market addressable by private operators amounts to 200 million. “, we explain at Socotec.
Beyond Great Britain, the French group confirms its double strategic movement carried out under the leadership of its executive chairman, Hervé Montjotin. At its head since September 2016, the latter has focused Socotec on its services related to construction, its historical domain, and infrastructure, while carrying out express internationalization through external growth.
The company has made 48 acquisitions in six years, including 13 in 2022. The share of its turnover outside France has increased from 10% to 52%. In fact, this was, for the first time, the majority in 2022, knowing that Socotec is aiming for the 60% threshold by 2024 for an overall turnover of 1.4 billion euros, compared to 500 million at the end of 2016.
“We are on the trajectory”, comments Hervé Montjotin, especially since the group’s turnover reached 1.15 billion in 2022, an increase of 15%, organic growth being 5%. “We kept to our budget even though the year was marked by the slowdown in construction projects given the changing economic situation,” continues the executive chairman of Socotec.
The operating margin rate of 16.5% was almost stable compared to 2021. Five years ago, the group was at 10%. “We have joined the leading players”, emphasizes Hervé Montjotin, while recalling that the main groups operating in inspection/technical control, such as SGS and Bureau Veritas, “are multi-sector”. “The increase in the margin in recent years is due to the development of our consulting activities which today generate 30% of our income”, explains the president of Socotec.
For 2023, the year of Socotec’s 70th anniversary, the group wants to be rather calm. “The economic situation is uncertain but the energy transition and the development of infrastructures are favorable winds. The number one problem remains that of human resources,” observes Hervé Montjotin. This is enough to fuel further consolidation in progress.
This article is originally published on lesechos.fr