COWI A/S is an international consulting group, specializing in engineering, environmental science and economics, with headquarters located in Lyngby, Denmark.

Company typePrivate
Founded1930; 94 years ago (1930)
FounderChristen Ostenfeld
Key people
Jens Højgaard Christoffersen (CEO)
ServicesEngineering, environmental science and economics
Revenue 985 million (2022)[1]
€ 33 million (2022)[1]
€ 22 million (2022)[1]
Total assets€ 498 million (2022)[1]
Total equity€ 203 million (2022)[1]
OwnerCOWIfonden (the COWIfoundation) (85%)[2] Present and Former Employees (15%) [3]
Number of employees
7,156 (2022)[3]

It has been involved in more than 50,000 projects in 175 countries and has approximately 7,300 employees, including engineers, biologists, geologists, economists, surveyors, anthropologists, sociologists and architects.[4]

History edit

COWI was founded in 1930 by civil engineer Christen Ostenfeld.[5] Wriborg W. Jønson became a partner 16 years later. From 1946 to 1973, the company operated as a partnership under the name of Chr. Ostenfeld & W. Jønson. The initials of the two senior partners lent the company its name.

Before establishing his one-man business, Ostenfeld had spent several years in France and Switzerland, and the international outlook, independence and close cooperation with the research community helped shape the business concept on which COWI was founded.

The first major assignment was the one-year renovation of a run-down theatre, turning it into the entertainment venue National-Scala. Later, the company engineered bridges in Denmark and abroad and built expertise in the construction industry, specialising in sports facilities and large load-bearing structures.

After World War II, Ostenfeld partnered with Wriborg Jønson, who became a senior partner. The company changed its name to Chr. Ostenfeld & W. Jønson, Rådgivende Ingeniører. In the post-war period, Ostenfeld travelled to France to learn about prestressed concrete, and the outcome of his time abroad was the design of the Ostenfeld Silo, which was exported to many countries.

In 1956, Ostenfeld and Jønson went global with the acquisition of the Paris-based company J. Cambon & Cie, which was also a former business partner. Up through the 1960s, several offices followed in Africa and later in the Middle East, where the company engineered roads, airports, hotels and industrial plants.

In 1973, the ownership structure was changed from a partnership to the present form of a foundation-owned company. The name was also changed to COWIconsult, where the two senior partners’ initials formed the name COWI.

In connection with the energy crises of the 1970s, the company broadened its horizon from specialising primarily in bridges and structural engineering to building in the fields of energy and environment, among other things, water treatment, supply and air pollution. Gradually, COWI became a sought-after environmental consultant and developed into a full-service consultant in social analysis, urban development, transport and welfare.

In 1995, the company was renamed once again to the current COWI A/S. In the new millennium, a number of strategic acquisitions were made in Scandinavia and the UK, significantly increasing the number of employees, and today COWI is a global consulting group.

In 2008 the firm bought Flint & Neill, a UK civil and structural engineering consultancy specialising in bridges. In November 2014, the firm acquired Donaldson Associates Ltd, a UK base tunneling specialist company. At the time of acquisition, Donaldson Associates Ltd had 150 staff, operating from 5 UK offices and one international office in Hong Kong. In November 2018, the firm acquired Arkitema Architects, a Danish architecture firm. At the time of acquisition, Arkitema Architects has 550 staff, operating from 5 offices in the nordics. Arkitema Architects is the largest acquisition of COWI to date.

In 2019, Denmark’s largest architecture firm, Arkitema, joined the COWI family.

In 2022 COWI acquired US-based Finley Engineering Group.[6][7] In 2022 COWI announced that the company will no longer participate in tenders for new fossil energy projects.

Ownership edit

COWI Holding A/S is an unlisted Danish public limited liability company jointly owned by the COWIfonden (the COWIfoundation) holding 85% of shares with the remaining 15% of company shares held by current and former employees from eight countries where COWI operates. The company regards employee shareholders as co-owners. The current company structure was adapted in 2010.[2]

Sustainability edit

With the rise of awareness about the climate crisis, COWI prioritised the need for action through overall organisational change.[8] In 2022, COWI developed and adopted a new vision and strategy called FUTURE-NOW [9] that puts sustainability at the centre of the company. The strategy works to accelerate the green transition and means that COWI became the first among engineering consultancies to stop taking on fossil fuel projects. Instead, COWI now allocates all resources to projects that move its customers towards sustainability. The goal is that 100 per cent of COWI's revenue must come from projects driving sustainability. COWI has established sustainability targets.[10]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Annual Reports and Key Figures". COWI. Retrieved 2023-04-26.
  2. ^ a b "Organisation, ownership, and investor relations". COWI. COWI A/S. Retrieved June 1, 2023./
  3. ^ a b "Meet our employees". COWI. COWI A/S. Retrieved June 8, 2023./
  4. ^ "Facts and figures - the quick version". COWI. Retrieved 2016-09-22.
  5. ^ "1930 - 1940: A nightclub – the first step towards an international company". COWI. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  6. ^ "COWI acquires award-winning FINLEY Engineering Group".
  7. ^ "Cowi acquires complex bridge specialists Finley Engineering Group". 26 April 2022.
  8. ^ "Sustainability in COWI". COWI. COWI A/S. Retrieved June 1, 2023./
  9. ^ "Our Strategy FUTURE-NOW". COWI. COWI A/S. Retrieved June 1, 2023./
  10. ^ "Sustainability reports". COWI. COWI A/S. Retrieved June 1, 2023./

External links edit