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"In 2023, we successfully concluded our three-year growth strategy, Focus23, with the overall goal of reaching 10% profitable organic growth annually by 2023. We surpassed these expectations delivering growth of 15% adjusted for currency and acquisition”, says CEO and President Søren Krogh Knudsen.

Columbus closed the year with strong Q4 results. Revenue grew by 13% to DKK 414m compared to the same period last year and 16% adjusted for currency and acquisition. EBITDA was DKK 40m with an EBITDA margin of 9.6%.

In 2023, Columbus delivered a total revenue of DKK 1,540m and an EBITDA result of DKK 118m,  corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 7.6%.  Due to currency fluctuations in SEK and NOK, total revenue was negatively affected by DKK 86m.

Columbus surpasses growth expectations

Strong development across the business

All major Business Lines contributed to the revenue growth in 2023, especially Data & Analytics and Customer Experience & Engagement showed continued rapid revenue growth, delivering 30% and 49% respectively. Columbus’ largest Business Line Dynamics (cloud-ERP) also continued the strong development contribution with 12% growth. Columbus’ M3 (Cloud-ERP) and Digital Commerce Business Lines were significantly affected by the Swedish currency decline, as most of their revenue comes from the Swedish market. In 2023, M3’s revenue declined by 0.6%, while Digital Commerce achieved a modest growth of 1.6%.

The Market Units in the UK and Denmark demonstrated strong progress in 2023, growing service revenue by 43% and 31% respectively. In Denmark, the growth was driven by the acquisition of ICY Security coupled with a strong organic growth of 17%. The largest Market Unit, Sweden, grew service revenue by 6% in constant currency showing strong momentum in a market affected by a challenging economy. However, the Market Unit in Norway saw a more mixed picture during the year after a long period of strong growth, delivering a decline of 11% in 2023.

Despite the underlying nervousness in the market, Columbus welcomed new customers such as Nuuday and Bavarian Nordic from Denmark, Compass Group AB and Fristad Workwear in Sweden, Jernia from Norway, and Origin Enterprise and Games workshop in the UK.

Growth opportunities within ESG reporting and AI Innovation

During 2023, Columbus has refined its ESG strategy and has also been able to meet market demand for automated ESG reporting. As a digital consultancy, Columbus possesses significant expertise in data management and can help companies take control and automate ESG data reporting, not only to comply with the CSRD requirements, but also to monitor sustainable performance in real time.

In 2023, Columbus launched a global AI innovation program with the purpose of exploring new growth potential and increasing business efficiency for customers. While opportunities within AI are still in the early phase, there is no doubt the potential within AI is immense – both for Columbus and its customers.

AI is not just a technology; it is a catalyst for transformation. As a digital consultancy, we see tremendous potential within AI. It has the power to revolutionize how we work, create value, and solve complex challenges for our clients. We are only at the beginning of this journey, but I am convinced that AI will be a crucial driver for our future success”, says Søren Krogh Knudsen.

New Heights – new growth strategy

In the completed Focus23 strategy period, Columbus has streamlined the organization and strengthened the market position. In 2023, Columbus has outgrown its primary market delivering 15% organic growth compared to an overall market growth of 7%.

Future growth will be driven by four strategic initiatives in the New Heights strategy, 2024-2026 covering both organic and acquisitive opportunities:

  • Expand and invest in our service portfolio
  • Expand our playing field
  • Seize market opportunity as a lifetime partner
  • Launching EBITDA15 program

Columbus has already made progress in this area with the acquisition of ICY Security and Endless Gain. In addition, Columbus has taken a strategic step by entering the life science industry which has great synergies to Columbus’ existing business.

Good start to the year

The first months of 2024 have been in line with the company's positive expectations, and Columbus expects an organic revenue growth of 8-10% and EBIITDA margin of 9-10%.  

“The strong underlying development in Q4 2023 is expected to continue in 2024. However, we closely monitor the external conditions as geopolitical uncertainty quickly could affect the market development”, says Chairman of the Board Ib Kunøe.


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