Global revenue at BSI climbs for nineteenth consecutive year to reach £512 million

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has announced its results for the year ended 31 December 2018. Global revenue has climbed for the nineteenth consecutive year to £512 million – representing an increase of 8% on 2017’s £473 million – following a year of significant internal investment. Organic revenue at constant exchange rates grew by 10%, with new sales orders up 12%. Average revenue per account increased by 12%.

Revenue in the Asia Pacific region increased by 11%, in the Americas by 8% and in the EMEA by 5%. Underlying operating profit increased by 4% to £61.8 million (2017: £59.5 million). Growth was 5% organic and 1% inorganic, with a 2% reduction due to exchange rates. Net asset value increased by 48% to £178.3 million. The corresponding total for 2017 was £120.3 million.

Howard Kerr, CEO at the BSI, commented: “We have seen a year of significant growth despite challenging economic, social and political conditions. To ensure that we’re a resilient organisation building a solid base for future expansion, we’ve undertaken a major programme of internal restructuring and investment in order to underpin the growth that has seen our global revenue nearly double in the last six years.”

Kerr added: “Key improvements to the internal processes of BSI, such as a new Human Resources management platform, an Assurance Services client portal and Digital Workplace projects, together with a new management structure, will lead to significant efficiency gains for BSI teams all over the globe. The ‘Business Transformation Programme’ will enable our growing workforce to provide even higher quality services to our wide array of clients across all business streams, reflecting the evolving business landscape that they face on a daily basis.”

BSI’s global footprint continues to grow, with the organisation working in 193 countries and alongside over 84,000 organisations. 84% of the FTSE 100 and 81% of the Nikkei 225 now work with the BSI – both figures marking a significant increase on last year – while 50% of the Fortune 500 also make up the total client base.

As stated, the average revenue per account increased by 12% in 2018, driven by the further expansion of BSI’s range of products and services and a stronger focus on key account management. BSI’s solutions span four business streams: Knowledge, Assurance Services, Regulatory Services and Professional Services. Knowledge is made up of standards, services and information solutions and grew by 7% to attain revenues of £65.2 million. Assurance Services, covering systems certification, product certification (including the internationally renowned BSI Kitemark) and training grew 5% to £277.4 million. Regulatory Services, which includes systems and product certification of medical devices, saw 26% growth to reach revenues of £92.7 million. Professional Services, which covers consultancy and supply chain solutions, grew in revenue by 3% to £76.6 million.

Ahead of Brexit

Howard Kerr: CEO at the BSI

Howard Kerr: CEO at the BSI

Ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union, BSI – as the UK’s national standards body – has continued to work closely with a range of UK Government departments (ie the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade) as well as industry and consumer groups.

In November last year, following many months of discussions, Europe’s most important standards bodies agreed that the UK should continue as a full member of CEN and CENELEC (the pan-European standards bodies) after Brexit, guaranteeing BSI and British influence over European standards until at least the end of 2020 while a more permanent agreement is put in place.

Last December, BSI also achieved designation as an EU notified body in the Netherlands and critical work is being transferred there from the UK notified body. This ensures a continuity of conformity assessment services for clients so that their products meet the EU regulations and directives necessary to access the European Union and European Economic Area, at the same time ensuring continued access to the UK market. BSI’s International Projects division also opened an office in Paris, ensuring its continued participation in EU-funded projects.

New programmes have also been introduced outside Europe. In April last year, BSI launched the Commonwealth Standards Network – an initiative operating in partnership with the Department for International Trade and the Department for International Development to facilitate trade among Commonwealth states. Announced by the Prime Minister, the platform is aimed at promoting innovation and trade through the increased use of international standards in the face of tariff concerns and Brexit uncertainty.

Strategic acquisition plans

The BSI's headquarters in Chiswick

The BSI’s headquarters in Chiswick

Following eight acquisitions between 2015 and 2017 – primarily in Professional Services – the company continued to implement its strategic acquisition plans with the acquisition of AirCert GmbH last November. Based in Munich, Germany, the specialist Aerospace certification company strengthens BSI’s presence in the sector, allows it to join the group of Aerospace certification bodies that are accredited to DAkkS – the German accreditation body – and supports its global growth strategy for Assurance Services.

In the past 12 months, BSI has become a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). As the world’s largest responsible business and sustainability initiative, BSI’s membership reflects its commitment to social responsibility – a business imperative for the organisation’s operations globally. The ten principles outlined in the UNGC regarding Human Rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption will be supported both through BSI’s internal operations and by way of the products and services it offers.

Howard Kerr concluded: “The support we received for our Brexit planning has underlined the vital importance of the UK’s presence in the global standards and conformity assessment community and provides greater certainty to our stakeholders. It’s clear that BSI’s position as a partner for business has never been more important and we remain steadfast in our commitment to tackle the commercial challenges on the horizon by embedding organisational resilience in businesses of all sizes and locations.”

*The BSI’s Annual Report and financial statements for 2018 can be found in full online at

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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