2022 saw the General Oceans companies properly organizing into a group and enjoying a more than 50 per cent increase in EBITDA and EBIT compared to 2021. We put the key elements of professional governance in place and the headquarters in London was properly staffed to serve the greater organization. In addition, we purchased Tritech International outright in October so that there are now four companies in the group and over 250 employees in nine countries.
Financially, 2022 was a great year. Nortek, Strategic Robotic Systems (SRS), and Reach Robotics (Reach) accounts were all included for the full year. Nortek ended the year with a 35% increase in revenues from already very good levels and the total sales numbers, including Tritech for the last 3 months, ended at NOK 640 mill.
As we move into 2023, we face a situation where the IPO market remains quiet. As a result, we have focused on honing and articulating our business strategy at the same time as we have looked at our financing needs in detail without giving up our ambition of listing General Oceans when market conditions are favorable.
Grow organically. We continue to focus on amplifying synergies in sales and marketing across the group, maintaining a solid program of product developments and ensuring that every operating company stays focused on its core business. Operationally, we bring people together to identify best practices and implement them in parallel business units. The global sales network built by Nortek is proving advantageous to all our companies and cross-brand sales representatives are being hired and placed in Nortek sales offices to take advantage of sales management and training excellence in place.
Invest in areas we believe are poised for growth. The buzzword is “Intelligent autonomy,” which is a high-level form of autonomy that involves decision making. Often referred to as level 4 autonomy, this requires good sensor systems, AI/ML processing modules, and advanced control algorithms. These investments may be internal, as in our ongoing funding of Reach to work on optical perception + ML/AI hardware & software development. They may also be external, such as the acquisition of small companies that are developing core functionality in the technical areas into which we want to expand.
Purchase or merge with target established companies. These are companies that have technically advanced products, an organizational structure that fits with the “General Oceans way,” and a history or a promise of profitable growth. This activity, which requires both funding and organizational focus, will be the largest contributor to the growth of General Oceans over the next couple of years.
Innovate for sustainability. All companies in the General Oceans group have been charged with leading on sustainability and ESG in our industry. While some operating companies are ahead of others, work is being done to align business practices with UN Sustainable Development Goals. The very nature of our business serving those at the forefront of climate research, clean energy development, and ocean conservation challenges us to do more. This can be seen in technological developments such as Nortek’s upgrade of the Aquadopp current meter, an integral sensor in the 70 moorings of the TAO/TRITON tropical array used internationally for weather prediction and climate modeling. The development is the latest in a decades-long relationship we have with national organizations (NOAA, JAMSTEC, IFREMER) and it illustrates our role in understanding the state of our oceans.
We look forward to the continued evolution of the General Oceans story as every day brings new opportunities!