Skanska beats forecasts in third quarter

Swedish construction and public works group Skanska reported a sharp hike in third quarter sales and earnings Thursday that beat market expectations.

The company said sales rose 14 percent in the July-September period to 36.405 billion kronor ($5.7 billion) compared to the third quarter of 2006.

Analysts surveyed by SME-Direkt had foreseen sales of 35.3 billion kronor.

Net earnings shot up 54.6 percent to 1.243 billion kronor.

The group’s principal activity, construction, recorded an 11.9 percent gain in sales.

“Nearly all markets contributed to the improvement,” said chief executive Stuart Graham.

“The outlook for building construction is positive in Skanska’s main markets and especially in the Nordic markets and in Central Europe.”