I must begin this report by mentioning my deep admiration and thanks for the way our colleagues within the RINA Group responded to the extraordinary challenges presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic. In March 20, we reset budgets with worst-case and best-case scenarios, and, at the end of the year, we slightly exceeded our best-case scenario, grew by 4% from 2019 and increased margin returns by 10%.
This result is extremely positive and reflects the strength of our resilience, organisation and strategies. The work and investment we had already carried out in our IT and digital tools, the differentiation of our services, and the differentiation of our markets, provided us with the ability to react positively to the pandemic and to achieve good results. We had systems in place to swiftly and smoothly move to remote working and the technology and communication protocols required to conduct remote inspection services. Indeed, we were the only classification society to be authorised by a flag state to carry out remote inspections. The way we have developed this capability means conducting inspections is as reliable as attending a site in person and, with the support of other digital tools including drones and thermal cameras, etc., we can inspect to even greater levels of accuracy. I am in no doubt that the future of inspection will leverage remote capabilities. In response to the pandemic, we also quickly released a new Biosafety Trust Certification; a voluntary certification which recognises organisations that have applied procedures and processes to reduce the risk of spread of infection.
Areas where we will continue to invest include cybersecurity and energy transition, specifically in the rapidly developing area of offshore wind power generation. Although already present in both these areas, we will look for acquisitions to strengthen our market offering. We also see opportunities in infrastructure and transportation, particularly in the USA where aging infrastructure requires improvement and so will invest to leverage this and other opportunities. We will also work to build on our success in the Space & Defence market. We will, following a challenging year, look to increase our merger and acquisition performance in 2021.