Porr sackings underway

Construction company Porr has started to lay off staff, new figures have shown.The Vienna-based firm, which is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange’s (WBAG) standard market auction, said today (Thurs) it had an average 11,560 employees in the first nine months of this year, down from 11,736 it had in the same period of 2009.This announcement comes just weeks after new firm chief Karl-Heinz Strauss warned of upcoming redundancies.The businessman, who took over as chief executive, in September, told the Kurier newspaper: “We will review the structure of organisation by the end of this year. (…) Employees of some departments will have to go as we want to reduce costs from 2011 onwards.”The businessman, who merged parts of his real estate development firm with Porr when he succeeded Wolfgang Hesoun as CEO, said last month that the building firm planned to expand to Libya, Oman, Qatar, Turkmenistan and Russia in partnership with its Turkish cooperation partner Renaissance Group.The value of building activity of Porr, the second-biggest Austrian construction company behind Hans Peter Haselsteiner’s Strabag SE, declined by 3.9 per cent to 2.04 billion Euros in the first three quarters of 2010 compared to the same time span last year.The value of incoming assignments plunged by 18 per cent year on year to 1.76 billion Euros.Porr’s earnings before interest and taxes (Ebit) shrank from 7.2 million Euros in the first half of last year to 6.9 million Euros in the first six months of 2010. Its turnover slid from 1.107 billion to 955 million Euros at the same time.