Aktiebolaget Skånska Cementgjuteriet (Scanian Cement Casting Ltd) was established in Malmö, Sweden, in 1887 by Rudolf Fredrik Berg and started by manufacturing concrete products. It quickly diversified into a construction company and within 10 years the company received its first international order. The company played an important role in building Sweden’s infrastructure including its roads, power plants, offices and housing.
Growth in Sweden was followed by international expansion. In the mid-1950s Skånska Cementgjuteriet made a major move into international markets. During the next decades it entered South America, Africa and Asia, and in 1971 the United States market, where it today ranks among the largest in its sector. The company was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange A-list in 1965. In 1984 the name “Skanska,” already in general use internationally, became the Group’s official name.
During the latter part of the 1990s, Skanska expanded substantially both organically and by acquisition. In August 2000 it bought the construction division of Kvaerner.
In mid-2004, Skanska decided to divest its Asian investments and sold its Indian subsidiary to the Thailand based construction firm Italian Thai Development Company.
In 2005, Skanska was awarded a gas pipeline contract in Argentina. Later, suspicions were raised that government corruption had been involved. Skanska performed its own investigation, dismissed seven managers, and worked closely with the authorities concerning the inquiry.
In 2011, Skanska acquired Industrial Contractors, Inc of Evansville, Indiana, United States.
In December 2013 the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic confirmed that Skanska DS a.s. participated in a bid rigging cartel of construction companies (together with companies of Strabag group and Mota-Engil group) in 2004. Illegal conduct was associated with the tender for the execution of works for the construction of the D1 highway from Mengusovce to Jánovce in Eastern Slovakia.
Skanska divides its operations into four business streams:
Construction is the largest business stream by revenue and number of employees. The operations of the other business streams involve investments in projects that are developed and later divested. With regard to infrastructure development, this often involves public–private partnerships (PPP). Geographically, the group operates based on local business units.
Skanska was the No. 1 “Green Builder” in the United States in 2007 and was ranked No. 3 "Green Contractor" in the United States 2008. In 2011, Skanska was ranked the greenest company in the United Kingdom, despite belonging to an industry with a generally high environmental impact. In 2014, Skanska won the Financial Times and ArcelorMittal “Boldness in Business Award” in the category “corporate responsibility/environment.”
The Financial Times described Skanska in 2014 as aiming to be the “greenest contractor in the world,” while having 57,000 employees, 100,000 suppliers and 250,000 subcontractors, who deliver more than 10,000 projects annually. An official vision stated by Skanska is “the five zeros”: zero loss-making projects, work site accidents, environmental incidents, ethical breaches and defects.
In the United Kingdom, Skanska has founded the “Supply Chain Sustainability School,” an e-learning initiative, in order to educate construction suppliers on sustainability. As suppliers are frequently shared between construction companies, the school is managed in partnership with several competitors. In July 2013, Skanska withdrew from the United States Chamber of Commerce, in protest of the chamber’s opposition to reformed LEED standards for sustainable buildings.
Skanska was the first company in the industry to implement the ISO 14000 standards globally, with all its business units having been certified according to ISO 14001 since 2000, and it was the first Scandinavian company to have an independent global whistleblowing hotline.
As of March 2015, Skanska was focused on the following selected markets:Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark in the Nordic region
Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the United Kingdom in the rest of Europe
The United States in North America
Skanska is in the process of exiting its operations in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela. Skanska will cease to accept new projects in the Latin American market and will divest its operation and maintenance units there.
Skanska is active in construction, commercial property development (office buildings, shopping centers and logistics properties) and infrastructure development (roads, hospitals and schools) in all of its three market regions. The company plans, develops and builds homes in the Nordic region and in the rest of Europe.
In 2013, Skanska was ranked the 9th largest contractor in the world, and in 2014, the 7th largest contractor in the United States.
During the rolling 12-month-period ending in September 2014, Skanska was the largest construction company by total revenue in the Nordic countries. The six largest ones were:
According to Skanska, the main competitors by market for the three predominant business streams were, as of March 2015, the following.The Nordic countries
NCC, Peab, YIT, Veidekke, Lemminkäinen, AF Gruppen
The rest of Europe
Budimex, Hochtief, Strabag, Metrostav, Balfour Beatty, Carillion
Turner, Fluor Corporation, Kiewit, Granite, Flatiron, Tutor Perini, ACS/Dragados
The Nordic countries
JM, NCC, Peab, YIT
The rest of Europe
Central Group, Finep, DOM Development, JW Construction
The Nordic countries
NCC, Vasakronan, Diligentia, KLP Eiendom, YIT, Lemminkäinen
The rest of Europe
Ghelamco, Echo Investment, GTC
Hines, Trammell Crow, Boston Properties
Major projects have included the Øresund Bridge which forms part of the road and railway connection between Sweden and Denmark, completed in 2000, 30 St Mary Axe in London, completed in 2004, the Mater Dei Hospital in Malta, which opened in 2007, and the 230m Heron Tower, the tallest building in the City of London at the time, completed in 2010.
Major projects in the United States include the MetLife Stadium (home to the Giants and the Jets NFL franchises), completed in 2010. Skanska has also won the Alaskan Way Viaduct project in Washington: the project worth SEK840 million ($115 million) involves the construction of a new 4,300-foot (1,300 m) viaduct on the southern section of the Alaskan Way on the State Route 99 bypass in downtown Seattle, completed in 2013.
Other major projects include the renovation of, and addition to, the headquarters of the United Nations, completed in 2014, the restoration of the World Trade Center site including the removal of debris, the reconstruction of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson and New York City Subway tunnels, and the creation of a World Trade Center Transportation Hub, completed in 2015 (including the "Oculus" station entrance designed by Santiago Calatrava) and the Second Avenue Subway tunneling project completed in 2016.
Skanska was entrusted with the building of a new general hospital in Malta, and the "state-of-the-art" Mater Dei Hospital costing over €700,000,000. Later, however, it was discovered that Skanska had used lower-quality cement of the kind that is generally used to build pavements. As a result, the hospital could not develop further floors or build a helipad on the roof. The company made sure to be waived of the responsibility for any evident cheap work and damage once the project was finalised.