Finnish group Destia has claimed to have had a “moderate” 2015, and said that difficulties in the country’s economy continued to weaken the operating environment in the construction sector, but that the company had increased revenue in the year.

The infrastructure and construction group said the challenging market situation had been evident not only in fierce competition for projects but also “the exceptionally low level of prices quoted”.

It added that there were also fewer major projects than before put out to tender.

“Infrastructure demand was, however, moderate,” it said, “and during the year, several projects in both the public and private sectors were started or put out to tender. Despite the decline in the total market, basic demand in the infrastructure field is created by the large projects planned for the next few years in the public-sector project programme.”

The company was for many years state run as the Finnish Road Enterprise, before being renamed Destia in 2007. It became a wholly state-owned limited company in 2008. In July 2014, the ownership was transferred to Ahlström Capital.

In the July to December 2014 period, the group’s revenue was €261.8 million. For the full year of 2015, it was €462.8 million. It said the increase in revenue was a result of growth in maintenance and construction volumes

Destia added that its order book had developed positively, and in accordance with its strategy, it had succeeded in increasing the share of private sector projects in its order book – both in terms of numbers and revenue.

President and CEO Hannu Leinonen said, “Destia’s success in 2015 was moderate despite a challenging operating environment. As a result of the poor economy, demand in the infrastructure sector remained at rather a low level, which was evident in the fierce competition for projects.

“In spite of the challenging market situation, our revenue and order book increased. Our operating profit fell slightly short of the previous year. During the year, individual unsuccessful projects weakened our result in comparison with the previous year.

He pointed out that 2015 had been the first complete year under private ownership.

“Our owner has supported us strongly in the implementation of our strategy and in the further development of the company.”

He said the aim of its growth strategy was to increase profitably “through excellent customer work” and by using its own expertise. He added that the group’s business plan period would finish at the end of 2016.

“During this year, we will be setting new targets for the next three-year period. Our strategic financial targets in the current three-year period have been a 5% growth in revenue, operating profit of 4%, return on investment of 15%, and equity ratio of 40%.

“We will review these for the next three-year period when setting the new targets.”

He continued, “The purposeful development of the company continues, and I hope that our investments, particularly in customer work, the development of our harmonised operating practices and occupational safety will show as better and added-value service for our customers.

“This will create the foundation for our profitable growth.”

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