WIFO warns building firms of a tough time

Austrian construction companies are in for a difficult year, a leading think tank has warned.The Institute for Economic Research (WIFO) announced today (Fri) that it expected investments in the domestic building sector to grow by just 0.7 per cent year on year. The think tank pointed out that the Austrian gross domestic product (GDP) was set to improve by 2.2 per cent at the same time.Declining spending on roadwork projects will dominate the situation in Austria this year, according to WIFO. The institute added its outlook for the Western European construction sector was similar. WIFO explained the branch had good chances to recover next year.Euroconstruct, a construction forecast group consisting of 19 European research institutes, meanwhile said it feared the overall building activity on the continent would decline by 0.1 per cent this year compared to 2010.News that the Austrian and European building sector may struggle this year comes days after Austria¬ís leading construction firm announced that the value of assignments it carried out in 2010 was found to be lower than its orders in the year before.Strabag SE said that its building activities in Europe and in the Arabian region last year were valued at 12.78 billion Euros. The Vienna-based company said assignments it carried out in 2009 were worth 1.9 per cent more.The firm pointed out it was optimistic about increasing its performance to 13.5 billion Euros this year. Strabag, which had around 73,600 employees, added it benefited from the “building boom” in Poland in 2010.