Global contractor Skanska announced this week that a dramatic fall in operating profit would lead to 3500 job losses.
Skanska said profit for the year would be about £136m, less than half of last year's £300m. Skanska has set aside £135m to cover write-downs in assets and restructuring costs.

Peter Wallin, Skanska's senior vice-president for investor relations, said most of the job cuts would be made in Poland.

He added that, although there were no plans to axe jobs in the UK, the shaky economic outlook meant nothing was certain.

The company said that, although the UK market showed stable development, there was a slowdown in the commercial sector.

The group blamed the worsening global downturn for the reverse in its fortunes since June, and it warned that the long-term effects of the recession were impossible to predict.

President and chief executive Claes Bjork said: "We have experienced an accelerated general economic downturn, with the events of 11 September particularly triggering events."

Earlier this year, Skanska predicted that its performance would be better than 2000.

Bjork said construction margins across the group had fallen to 4.7% this year, compared with 5.6% last year.

Skanska wrote off £13m in September on joint UK ventures with British contractors Costain and Mowlem.

n Skanska Networks UK has acquired MGT, a contractor in the installation and maintenance of copper wire in Leeds.

Skanska said the purchase of MGT, which employs 400 staff, will help it to increase its market share in the broadband and mobile telecoms sector.