Swedish construction company exits Latvian market

The Swedish construction company Skanska has sold its operations in Latvia as part of a move to leave what its board of directors has called a “peripheral” market.

Skanska announced Aug. 15 that its Latvian division, Skanska Konstrukcija SIA, has been purchased by Panevezio Keliai AB, a Lithuanian construction company that also bought Skanska’s operations in Lithuania. The Rīga-based Skanska Konstrukcija, which has 29 employees, reported sales of EUR 2.3 million in 2002, according to Skanska.

The sale is the result of a strategic review announced early this year. Skanska’s board wants the company to refocus its efforts in markets in which it is a major player. Latvia, Lithuania and Hungary were deemed “peripheral” markets for Skanska.

In Latvia, Skanska’s best-known construction project was Valdemāra Centrs, an 8,300-square-meter Class A office and retail development in downtown Rīga completed in 1998 for about USD 20 million in a joint venture with the Rīga City Council. During the summer, the project was sold to Marr Estates B.V., a firm registered in Holland, for about USD 13 million.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which helped finance the project, at one point termed Valdemāra Centrs the “first international-standard business centre in the Baltics.”

Skanska also has sold two residential properties, with a total of 48 apartments, to local Latvian investors for USD 6.08 million.

“Through these transactions, we are following our strategy and exiting the Latvian market,” Fredrik Wirdenius, president of Skanska Project Development Europe, said in a press release from the company. “At the same time, the sales enable a continued focus on commercial project development in our selected Central European markets – Prague, Budapest and Warsaw.”

Skanska was involved with a number of other projects in Latvia, including the Stockholm School of Economics and Astrīdes House.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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