Builder Skanska third-quarter profit falls less than expected

FILE PHOTO: Swedish builder Skanska sign is seen at the building site on Brompton Road in London, Britain November 7, 2018. Picture taken November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Anna Ringstrom

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's Skanska SKAb.ST reported on Wednesday a smaller fall than expected in third-quarter profit and said it had partially recovered from the initial impact of the pandemic.

Operating profit at the Nordic region’s largest builder, and one of the biggest in the United States, was 1.53 billion Swedish crowns ($174.3 million) against a year-ago 2.15 billion. Analysts had on average forecast a profit of 1.09 billion crowns, according to a Refinitiv poll.

Skanska lowered its 12-month outlook for the U.S. non-residential building market, but raised the outlook for its Nordic residential property development markets.

Order bookings at the Construction division, which books the bulk of group revenues, shrank to 31.8 billion crowns from 34.9 billion. The division has restructured and adopted a strategy to bid more selectively for higher-margin contracts only.

“The Construction stream continues its steady path of profitability improvement,” Chief Executive Anders Danielsson said in a statement.

“Commercial Property Development investor interest in our developments is promising but leasing is challenging,” he said concerning the group’s biggest property development business.

($1 = 8.7779 Swedish crowns)

Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Terje Solsvik and Niklas Pollard