Founded in Denmark in 1945, Ramboll is a leading engineering, design and consultancy company. Ramboll has a significant presence in Northern Europe, India and the Middle East with close to 200 offices across 22 countries which employ 11,000 professionals worldwide. Acquiring over 50 companies in the past five years, Ramboll has grown aggressively. It operates around 140 bank accounts, transacting in many different currencies between countries.
With a fairly decentralised financial set-up, each of Ramboll’s business units retains a significant level of autonomy – setting its own payment terms to align with local business and cultural norms, for instance. Group treasury’s role, therefore, is less about enforcing harmonised processes and more about education and communication to ensure that the group – as a whole – maintains an efficient liquidity position. “If we make any changes we must always explain the benefits from a group-wide perspective,” says Flemming Warhøi-Rasmussen, Group Treasurer/Director.
“Nordea lifts a major part of the communication burden from group treasury, giving our local business units around the world training in the new systems and answering their questions.”
But with numerous bank accounts in different countries and currencies, keeping track of liquidity was challenging. Not only was consistent visibility of liquidity a hurdle, but deciding what was needed for future obligations, and how to allocate liquidity, also proved difficult. When Warhøi-Rasmussen began a treasury centralisation and liquidity management initiative in 2009, the goal was, while centralising liquidity and cash flow, to work within Ramboll’s decentralised financial set-up and institute an internal bank to give treasury a single view of the business.
Nordea pools the balances from all accounts to provide a master balance in Ramboll’s chosen currency, supporting treasury centralisation.
Warhøi-Rasmussen’s choice of bank to help implement this was easy; Nordea has been Ramboll’s main group bank since 2004 and the two companies have developed a very strong working relationship. Moreover, Nordea’s Global Cash Pool proved to be the right solution for enabling Ramboll to take control of its global liquidity. It offered a customised solution for finance staff, across the group, to access a unified real-time view of the company’s numerous bank accounts in different currencies. Nordea pools the balances from all accounts to provide a master balance in Ramboll’s chosen currency, supporting treasury centralisation. “For a multinational business like ours, cash pooling is simply a requirement today,” explains Warhøi-Rasmussen.
“Nordea was a good business partner for us. The bank’s expertise in cash pooling meant we were given excellent advice on the choices we were facing,” he opines. Ramboll initially implemented the Global Cash Pool solution across the Nordics, before expanding it into the UK in 2013 and Germany in 2014. Along the way, many new acquisitions have been brought into the pool, with the local support of the bank. “Nordea lifts a major part of the communication burden from group treasury, giving our local business units around the world training in the new systems and answering their questions,” reports Warhøi-Rasmussen.
The process now runs like clockwork and Ramboll’s cash pool incorporates more than 90 accounts. Through Nordea’s Corporate Netbank tool, finance staff at Ramboll have access to summary accounts which give top-level views by region and currency. They can initiate payments or transfers directly within their ERP system, offsetting credit and debits across accounts.
Warhøi-Rasmussen explains that the benefits have been significant, “we have an instant overview of total liquidity across the entire international operation” and consequently can manage associated risk. By uniting the decentralised corporate structure, Ramboll can react more quickly to local and global events that might affect overall liquidity. Furthermore, the solution provides much more reliable forecasting of cash flows three months ahead across the whole group – which means greater visibility and control over the company’s liquidity position. Group treasury can now see and access liquidity wherever it is in the account structure, using its net cash position and effectively serving as an internal bank.
The co-ordinated efforts of Nordea have been instrumental in providing a cash pooling solution that allows Ramboll’s business units to work the way they want whilst being flexible enough to scale with the company’s growth.
Ramboll’s global and local operations have also been streamlined and finance staff across the group benefit from the Corporate Netbank’s consistent interface. This has improved business agility and overall company awareness of liquidity management. “We wanted to use a standard system, so we didn’t have to develop our own. Yet it had to be flexible enough to fit each country’s requirements without forcing them to change their processes. That flexibility is exactly what Corporate Netbank gives us,” says Warhøi-Rasmussen.
The co-ordinated efforts of Nordea have been instrumental in providing a cash pooling solution that allows Ramboll’s business units to work the way they want whilst being flexible enough to scale with the company’s growth. “As we look to expand even further, we are sure that Nordea will remain an invaluable partner for us,” he concludes.
Enjoying a period of rapid growth, Denmark-based engineering, design and consultancy company Ramboll also faced financial integration issues. Hear how the company sought guidance from Nordea’s experts on how to introduce a cash pooling structure that gives it a real-time view of its cash, globally, and how by offering local support, Nordea has “truly become a business partner.”
To listen to Flemming Warhøi-Rasmussen go to: bit.ly/nordea_ramboll or scan the QR code.