Swedish contractor expands into UK residential sector focusing on London and the South-east

Skanska has opened a UK housing division as part of a new global expansion strategy.

The Swedish firm will launch a new UK residential development arm focusing on London and the South-east. The first projects are due to start in 2011.

Residential development is an area with “the best growth potential” the firm said. Skanska will also launch a residential operation in Poland.

The firm said: “Skanska has long had a large and successful construction operation in the UK. The financial crisis and the dramatic decline in the housing market have now created excellent opportunities for entry as a residential developer.”

Skanska’s move is part of a four-year growth plan to achieve margins of 3.5-4% on construction projects worldwide by expanding construction operations and significantly increasing investments in project development.

Johan Karlström, Skanska’s president and CEO, said: “We are well-equipped to commence expansion now. After a few years of consolidation, we currently have a strong focus on risk management and excellent profitability; we have also survived the financial crisis and are strongly equipped financially.”