COWI makes strategic acquisition in green energy sector

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Denmark-headquartered consulting group COWI is set to take a stronger market position in the Nordic region with a key new acquisition.

COWI has acquired Mannvit hf, an Icelandic international consulting firm with 280 employees and a stronghold in green energy.

As part of the COWI Group, the ambition is to strengthen Mannvit’s position as the leading consulting engineering company in Iceland and partner with Icelandic customers in developing a green energy hub for various industries. With the acquisition, COWI is taking the next step towards realising its growth ambitions and reinforces the company’s leading position in the green transition.

The acquisition is set to give COWI an even stronger market position in the Nordic region where investments in the green transition are accelerating. COWI and Mannvit share strongholds in energy, infrastructure and industry and Mannvit’s employees provide new capabilities to accelerate COWI’s growth ambitions. In addition, Mannvit’s 280 employees have broad experience in geothermal and hydropower, which are capabilities that are in high demand.

COWI Group CEO Jens Højgaard Christoffersen said: “We are excited to welcome Mannvit to the COWI Group. It’s a perfect match, both from a business and cultural perspective. Both companies have employees with great technical capabilities and we share values as well as a strong buy-in to work with our customers to co-create sustainable and well-designed solutions that improve the quality of life for people today and many generations ahead.”

It is no coincidence that COWI has now entered the Icelandic market. Thanks to its good access to renewables, Iceland has the potential to become a green energy hub for various industries and the country is already a front-runner when it comes to carbon capture and storage, which will be key in tackling the climate crisis.

“Since the green transition is a core pillar in our strategy, it makes sense to enter the Icelandic market,” said Henrik Winther, executive vice president of COWI in Denmark, who will lead the integration of Mannvit and COWI.

Significant growth potential

The Icelandic government has increased its investments in new infrastructure and green energy in recent years. The size and complexity of future infrastructure systems require an extensive team of skilled employees and relevant experience. As a part of the COWI Group, Mannvit will expand in terms of competencies and scale and be ready for most challenges.

“By joining forces with COWI, we get the opportunity to develop Mannvit as a company while building on our legacy, said Örn Guðmundsson, CEO of Mannvit. “From our collaboration on various projects, we know that there is both a technical and cultural fit between our companies, but most importantly, we share the same ambition for a sustainable future. We see how requirements intensify, for example in our work with the bus rapid transit network in Reykjavík, which is why we teamed up with COWI. So, to strengthen our competitiveness, we have decided to tie closer bonds,” Guðmundsson explained.

Following the acquisition, the ambition is to strengthen Mannvit’s position as a leading engineering company in Iceland in the coming years by expanding customer services.

“With our combined services and customer-centric approach, Mannvit now gets 7,500 specialist colleagues to help deliver quality engineering solutions, which will strengthen our value offer to our Icelandic customers,” said Henrik Winther. “Being part of the COWI Group also creates additional career opportunities, making Mannvit an even more attractive workplace for current and future employees,” he said.

As part of the transaction, Mannvit will become a fully integrated business unit in the COWI Group. From 1 january 2024, Mannvit will change its name to COWI and operate fully under the COWI brand. Until then, Mannvit will continue to operate under its own name and brand.

MAR Advisors acted as financial advisor for Mannvit’s board and shareholders and Arta has acted as legal advisor for the sellers. Lex law firm has acted as legal advisor and KPMG as financial advisor for COWI.