Austrian builder Strabag halts construction activity in 'drastic' response to Coronavirus

Strabag, Austria’s largest construction company, announced on Wednesday that it is halting its regular construction operations effective today as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic.

The order, which applies indefinitely until further notice, affects for now around 1,000 sites across the country but the builder also noted that it may be extended to the other group countries in the future.

‘It is currently not possible to reliably assess whether and to what extent construction will also be temporarily suspended in the other group countries,’ Strabag said.

The company said it was forced to take this ‘drastic step’ to prevent the spread of the virus as it could not guarantee a minimum working distance. Another major issue for the construction industry at the moment is the availability of construction materials, with the builder saying that the normal supply chain of both materials and subcontractors is no longer ensured.

‘The restrictions on public life associated with the coronavirus prevention measures are having an enormous impact on our construction operations. After weighing all the interests and, above all, due to our responsibility to society, we feel compelled to take this drastic step,’ said Strabag’s CEO Thomas Birtel.

Projects in which the minimum distance can be maintained, as well as projects of overriding public interest, will be continued to a limited extent in agreement with the clients, the company added.

While the company expects a negative impact on earnings from this situation, it said that it will only be able to assess it more precisely once the situation normalises.

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