As from today two of the largest Nordic consultancy firms in development co-operation are merged when SIPU International AB joins the Helsinki Consulting Group. Jointly they become a significant Nordic actor on the global development market, better equipped to meet the donor’s demands for a high turnover, competency, local partnerships and administrative procedures for tender and programme management.
HCG with a turnover of 25 M € 2006, employs 30 staff at its head office in Finland in addition to numerous project employees throughout the world. HCG is a member of the FCG group which is owned by Finnish institutions such as the Finnish Association of Local Authorities, Helsinki University and the Ministry of Finance. SIPU International has a turnover of 10 M € and employs 32 staff members in Stockholm plus a number of internationally based short and long term project employees. It has been owned by consultants in the company since 1992, before which it formed part of a government institution.
The merger responds to recent trends in international development co-operation towards large international tenders. Nordic and other development aid is to a larger extent channeled through EU, the World Bank and the other regional banks and as direct budget and sector support to the partner countries. The demand for traditional in-house expertise and project support through bilateral donors as Sida and Finnida however also remains.
The new constellation will be advantageous as it means a widening and deepening of both companies’ competency areas, administrative resources and ability to survey and win tender opportunities on the new development arena. HCG main areas of operation include environment and natural resources, Education, Management Development, Health and Social Services. SIPU International operates in a number of partner countries in the fields of Public Management, Human Resources Management, Public Financial Management, Private Sector Development, Rural and Urban Development and Planning. The areas are complementary and the companies can reap benefits in terms of tendering, project management, regional presence etc.
The merger will not affect on-going projects and SIPU International remains as a company operating from Sweden in the common framework of the HCG group.
“ We are certain that the merger with HCG signifies additional competency and capacity for SIPU and gives us a stronger competitive edge on the international development arena. The tender invitations are heading for increased programmes and interventions and subject to increased international competition. To have a chance on this market, bidding companies need to have both high turn-over and liquidity. The preparation of tender documents and project administration is becoming more taxing to meet the donor requirements and international standards. It also requires access to advanced registers and networks of available and competent international experts.” declares Björn Bengtson, MD at SIPU International.
Together the two companies have access to consultants and projects running in a number of different geographical locations i.a South Africa, Vietnam, Serbia, Brazil, Romania, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, New Zeeland, Turkey, other parts of Asia, the former Soviet Union, and a number of African countries.
“Our assessment is that there is a continued and strong need for international competency in our key areas of operation. We can now offer wider competencies, liaise to cover and tender for larger projects and programmes and offer competent project management – often in partnership with local and regional companies. HCG/SIPU International will be a strong actor in the field of global development with emphasis on the public sector and environment” adds the President of HCG Markku Oksanen.
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Markku Oksanen (markku.oksanenfcg.fi), May 11th 2007