Skanska sales up, profits remain elusive

Swedish construction and civil engineering giant Skanska on Thursday posted an increase in sales in the fourth quarter 2011, the first rise since the outbreak of the financial crisis, but full-year profits remained firmly in the red.

Skanska sales up, profits remain elusive

For the October to December period, Skanska saw its sales inch up one percent to 34.54 billion kronor ($5.33 billion), as its net profit swelled 47 percent to 1.26 billion kronor, it said in its earnings report.

The result beat the expectations of analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires, who had predicted a net profit for the quarter of 883 million kronor.

“This was the first time since the recession we had a positive revenue trend in local currencies compared to the corresponding quarter of the preceding year,” Skanska chief executive Johan Karlström said in a statement.

“The market for building construction is gradually improving, where the Nordic markets in particular, especially Sweden, are showing a stable trend,” the company said, adding however that the British and Czech markets were hard-hit by austerity measures.

Margins were meanwhile “tight” in the United States, while competition in the Polish market was “fierce,” the Swedish group said.

For all of 2010, Skanska’s results were weakened by the overall economic situation and a stronger Swedish krona.

It saw its sales drop 12 percent (or nine percent not counting the impact of the exchange rate) to 122.2 billion kronor, while its net profit for the year was down five percent at 4.02 billion.

On the bright side, orders grew during 2010 by two percent (or six percent not counting the exchange rate effect) to 131.4 billion.

Skanska said that in addition to an annual dividend of 5.75 kronor per share, it planned to pay out an additional dividend of 6.25 kronor when it manages to complete the sale announced late last year of its 50-percent stake in Autopista Central in Chile, expected to bring in around five billion kronor, corresponding to 12 kronor per share.

Following the news, Skanska saw its stock price fall 2.44 percent to 128 in late morning trading on a Stockholm stock exchange down 0.93 percent.

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Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid

A consortium led by Swedish construction company Skanska has been picked for a $3.6 billion (30.5 billion kronor) project to modernize New York's LaGuardia Airport, regional transport officials have announced.

Swedish firm wins huge New York airport bid
Travellers at New York's LaGuardia Airport in January 2015. Photo: TT

The contract is the largest in Skanska's history and follows the group also winning the contract to build the Metlife Stadium, where the American football teams New York Jets and New York Giants play.

The Skanska team, called LaGuardia Gateway Partners, was tapped by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to demolish the existing central LaGuardia terminal and build and maintain a replacement.

They beat out a competing bid by a team that included major rivals Aeroports de Paris, Goldman Sachs and the architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox.

Other members of the consortium are Walsh Construction, Vantage Airport Group, which manages nine airports around the world, Meridiam, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and HOK, the global architecture group.

Located in the borough of Queens, LaGuardia is one of three major airports serving the New York City region. Port Authority officials described the upgrade as necessary for New York to compete effectively with Tokyo and other global centers.

They said partners in the Skanska consortium have worked on more than 350 aviation and transport projects, including the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and at international airports in Boston and Los Angeles.

Transport officials said the upgraded airport would replace a facility that currently suffers from overcrowding. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

Several airlines fly between Sweden and New York, with budget carrier Norwegian launching a no-frills service in 2013.