CEO Comment - 2015, a turning point after a period of disappointments
The list of accomplishments in 2015 is long, but perhaps most noteworthy are the effects of the restructuring programmes in Germany and in the US. They both demonstrated strong performance during the autumn following the implementation of new structures in May, and in the US also a strategy shift which involved closing down PDR activities and focusing on TCS.
The improvement is even better than the figures show as 2015 was a year with almost no significant weather events. This statement is confirmed by several large insurance companies, which have reported a reduction in the number of claims. In the previous few years, we had both large floods and more harsh winter weather. Organic growth excluding currency effects, acquisitions and the effects from the new structure in the US was 4%.
The simple conclusion from this is that the quality of our earnings has improved. We have developed our organisation and begun the implementation of the Polygon model. The most significant driver was the change in management philosophy to one that is truly decentralised, with a bottom-up approach that provides clear accountability. This was even clearer after the reorganisation of the headquarters in Stockholm.
The figures for the full year show an improvement in the results before restructuring of close to 70%. Although Q4 in the previous year was boosted by weather effects (floods in Germany, the Nordic area and the UK) Polygon made a strong improvement. The effects from restructuring in Germany and the US are the main drivers for the improvement in 2015 but it is notable that only two countries performed below previous year. This confirms the strong management set-up we now have in the Group.
In late 2014, we made an acquisition in Austria followed by an acquisition in the UK in early 2015 (total sales of EUR 4 million). Making acquisitions and taking on major projects is the last step in our model and is only sanctioned in countries where the base is strong.
As we enter 2016, we will continue to focus on our people first, based on a strong conviction that happy employees lead to satisfied customers and, as a result, healthy profits. We conduct annual employee surveys and we work intensively with CSR within an initiative we call Our Responsibility. This important programme has the purpose of encouraging as well as protecting our employees. The Polygon model will be rolled out on a wider scale boosted by the Polygon Model Academy with the goal of broadening the number of ambassadors to spread the important message of the Polygon Model throughout the whole organisation. Another important focus is to implement a new mobile field force system - Metrix. We will start piloting the system in Austria and the Netherlands in Q2 2016.
We are ready to respond on short notice to ensure that real estate and other property restored to its origins in the fastest possible way. We do a quick assessment of the damage to be able to take the right actions.
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