Case Study

NCC Construction Danmark (A): Back to profitability

17 pages
November 2011
Reference: IMD-3-2202

This two part case series describes the transformation challenge faced by a European company, NCC Construction Danmark A/S (NCC DK), belonging to one of the oldest industries in the world – construction. Even though the context is construction, the lessons that this case provides should appeal to other European companies and industries as they simultaneously seek to reposition themselves for the new times and new opportunities in Europe and beyond. Case A describes NCC DK’s fight back to profitability from the brink of bankruptcy after the residential construction bubble burst in Denmark in 2006. After becoming the CEO of NCC DK in October 2006, Torben Biilmann and his top management team led a three-phase transformation that led the financially troubled company back to prosperity: Stabilization (2006-2007); Efficiency and Sustainability (2008-); and Business Development (2009-). The storyline has many of the elements to be found in a classic transformation, including restructuring, renovation and renewal. Case A provides a platform for exploring how Biilmann and his leadership team put NCC DK back on the road to profitability by concentrating on five Must-Win Battles (MWBs). A four part video (total runtime 21′ 44”) supplements the case. The first (7′ 17”) is an interview with Torben Biilmann (CEO, October 2006 – May, 2012) and Martin Manthorpe, Senior Vice President (Strategy) on the tough restructuring and renewal described in Case A. The second (5′ 19”) is an interview with the same two executives on the role of VDC in moving the construction industry to the 21st century and creating new opportunities for NCC DK. The third (7′ 4”) is an interview with Klaus Kaae (the company’s CEO since June 2012) and Manthorpe on the concept of “Co-Creation” and the opportunities and challenges for the company in driving this concept. The final part of the video (2′ 4”) is a short reflection by Biilmann on the lessons for other European companies from NCC DK’s experience.

Learning Objective

Provide a basis for senior executives (especially from European companies) to discuss company and industry transformation so as to sustain profitable growth even in maturing industries. Even though the context is construction, the disciplined approach to execution of NCC DK and its proactive approach to strategic renewal can offer pointers to other European companies as they battle industry maturity. The case can also be used in MBA class rooms to address restructuring and renewal.

Corporate Transformation, Project Management, Key Customer Program, Construction
Field Research
© 2011
Available Languages
Related material
Teaching note, Video
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

2012 AESE AWARD WINNER (New Times, New Opportunities)
Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics