In the previous years, a considerable adaptability was required from Unica and its workforce due to corona. In 2022, again a series of unforeseen developments such as geopolitical incidents and inflation driven up by high energy prices affected society and industry as a whole. By falling back on its solid foundations, the impact of these unexpected events on Unica was limited. The endless dedication and flexibility of the more than 3,500 employees active in the group deserve a real compliment.
Despite disruptions on the market and in society in 2022, generated revenue at Unica grew for the third consecutive year by double figures. The € 758 million generated revenue for 2022 represents growth of 14% (2021: € 663 million). The focus on improving the profit margin was even more emphatically reflected in the results: EBITDA grew to € 72,9 million, representing a rise of more than 29% as compared with 2021 (€ 56,4 million). In just five years, Unica has succeeded in doubling its EBITDA as compared with 2017. The EBITDA margin of 9.6% for 2022 represents a healthy profit position, appropriate for companies of the size of Unica.
Network of companies
The solid organic growth at Unica was supplemented by the effects of acquisitions. In 2022, two market-leading companies were added to the Unica network of companies, EAL and Working Spirit. EAL is a leading Dutch player in the development and implementation of security management and access control systems. The activities of this company were absorbed into the cluster Unica Access & Security that brings together services in the field of access control and security. Working Spirit is a key operator in the national market for ICT secondment services, with more than 150 IT specialists. The company has been integrated in the cluster Unica ICT Solutions, which with the addition of Working Spirit has experienced a major boost in terms of knowledge and capacity.
The targeted acquisition of high performance businesses remains important to Unica’s growth strategy. The extent to which the acquisition candidates tie in with the business model and culture of Unica are essential focus points in implementing the M&A agenda. The network of companies is the spearhead of the strategy and the heart of the business model. From the company’s nine clusters, Unica has the capacity to excel in a specific region or specialisation, but is also able to combine different knowledge domains in a multidisciplinary approach for new orders.
The combination of geopolitical unrest, the changes following the COVID-19 pandemic and the visible effects of climate change have once again made it abundantly clear in 2022 that the energy transition is unavoidable. The necessity for sustainability was made all the more emphatically visible by the major rise in energy prices. Although these price rises have limited the financial capacity for direct adaptations, more than ever before, parties are convinced that energy is becoming a strategic topic that deserves structural attention and demands investments.
Against that background, sustainability is a prominent aspect of every order and an area in which Unica can demonstrate its in-depth knowledge and operational capacity. The considerations of our clients are influenced not only by energy prices. For many sectors, available grid capacity and security of supply are important points of attention.
As a partner in sustainable transformation, Unica can make a positive difference for its customers. For itself too, the company wishes to establish a solid practical base in terms of sustainable business practice. To identify the highest opportunity areas in terms of sustainability, a material analysis was conducted in 2022 and a sustainability framework drawn up. This framework brings together a series of core pillars on the basis of which, over the coming years, Unica will further fulfil its ambitions for sustainable entrepreneurship. Increased transparency in reporting on sustainability performance is another key element of the responsibility that can today be expected of prominent companies like Unica.
One essential element of current and future success at Unica is the company’s workforce. Retaining employees in particular and reinforcing the labour capacity in the technology sector in general are spearheads of our business policy. Dedication, vitality, (social) safety and health are components in which Unica will continue to invest. Thanks to the variety of tasks Unica carries out in its extensive network of companies, Unica can offer its employees considerable career and development opportunities. Further investments, among others in a new online learning platform, will help fulfil the broadly perceived need for personal and commercial development
We must of course also continue to focus attention on expanding our labour capacity, for example by working more intensively in encouraging lateral entry programmes and technical training courses. The sector as a whole faces the challenge of expanding the pool of technical talent, so that now and over the coming decades there is sufficient capacity to have all technical tasks carried out by specialists. Together with chain partners, Unica will continue to make a creative contribution to this goal over the coming years.
The markets in which Unica operates offer favourable perspectives. Unica is active at the heart of the energy transition, has access to a pool of fundamental ICT knowledge capable of implementing the necessary digitalisation and can rely on technical specialists in a wide variety of fields of expertise, ranging from smart buildings to fire safety and from datacenters to access protection. The innovative capacity of Unica and the internal career prospects are outstanding. Nonetheless, maintaining the attractiveness of the company for the labour market will remain a central point of focus in company policy.
The contact and consultation with the management of Unica always takes place in an atmosphere of good harmony. This applies first and foremost to discussions with the Board of Directors, consisting of CEO John Quist and CFO Ron van Laar, who joined the Board last year. The Supervisory Directors are impressed by the professional and dedicated way in which the Board of Directors manages the company. At the same time, the discussion on specific subjects with the management of the various clusters and of the shared services provides a sound and reliable reflection of the development of Unica. The regular consultation meetings attended by a delegation from the Joint Works Council were much appreciated by the Supervisory Board.
Signing of the Financial Statements
The Board of Directors discussed the financial statements for 2022 with Deloitte Accountants and the financial statements were signed by the Supervisory Board. The shareholders were asked to adopt the financial statements and to accept the proposal for the appropriation of profits. The shareholders were also recommended that the Board of Directors should be discharged from liability for its management, and that our Supervisory Board should be discharged from liability for its supervision.
Over the coming years, Unica can continue to make a positive difference to society, its workforce and the market, and can put its expertise and services at the disposal of society in tackling the many complex challenges. Together with my fellow members of the Supervisory Board, Luc Hendriks and Henk ten Hove, I look forward to contributing to the success of Unica.
Hoevelaken, 26 April 2023
Chairman of the Supervisory Board