Today we find ourselves caught in an unprecedented moment, isolated and yet deeply connected to one another, by a virus that has transformed our lives in the blink of an eye. Let us start by expressing to you our deepest respect and gratitude: it is wonderful to see how everyone is doing their best to play their part in managing this crisis.
A quick glance at BESIX around the world
Admittedly, the situation is different in each of the 25 countries where we are present, but the trend is clearly towards confinement in order to flatten the curve.
The majority of our head offices are deserted to respect social distancing rules and/or local guidelines. Like many of you, we are doing our work, remotely from our offices, with our families and loved ones in various states of social distance.
In this context, our thoughts specifically go out to our expatriates who have decided to stay on their project, those who are sometimes far from their families. Our gratitude also extends to them for their commitment and dedication.
Depending on their location in the world, our project sites are open, slowed down or closed, due to local guidelines or issues within the supply chain. Where construction work has been suspended, temporary unemployment has been introduced for many of our workers and as from 1 April, for impacted employees as well. We stand in solidarity with the teams in this situation and are committed to help them through this crisis.
Necessary actions to stay united
With roughly 70% of our global project sites closed, our income is slowing down while expenses continue to roll out. Special attention must be paid to the control of our costs if we are to hold out over the long term, taking into account that the majority of the countries where we are present, are already experiencing a significant contraction in economic activity.
Because of this downturn and slowdown in operations, we have started to institute challenging measures such as temporary unemployment for workers and employees.
It is difficult to predict when this crisis will be over but it might last several months. This is the reason why we need to act now. By taking the above-mentioned measures, we will be better positioned to collectively face the current and future uncertainty in the market.
We realise that this announcement may cause some hardship, and therefore appreciate the massive response of understanding that we have received. We are truly touched by the solidarity we are witnessing during these times.
This is a new reality that we are still adjusting to, that will continue to create challenges and require courage in the coming weeks and months. We need everyone’s support as we cope with this situation and look forward to working all together again when the business picks up.
Every week we will evaluate what needs to happen. We will do our utmost best to keep our measures balanced, caring and forward-looking.
Apart, but not alone
For more than 110 years, BESIX has faced countless global crises and known many instances of resilience. Be assured that we will do whatever is necessary to lead our company through these difficult times: we are truly united together in this fight.
The whole management of BESIX Group is present to help you go through these incredible complex times. Although we are temporarily physically isolated, we feel more than ever an immense sense of solidarity and unity within the company and a great sense of common purpose.
Our last word today goes out to our colleagues and family members who are affected by this virus. We offer them our sincere wishes for a speedy recovery. May they regain their full strength quickly!
We look forward to better days while pursuing our work together.
Stay safe & take care.
Frédéric, Gabriel, Geert, Jan, Jan, Jean, Mathieu, Pierre, Tom and Rik
Members of the Executive Committee