The big Icelandic contractor company Ístak will have 200 – 300 employees working in Greenland, Jamaica and Norway next year but will not work on any new projects in Iceland, Morgunbladid reported.
Ístak is working on several projects in Norway, building a preschool in Greenland’s capital Nuuk and constructing a service building for cruise ships in Falmouth in Jamaica.
In the first ten months of this year 747 companies filed for bankruptcy but 600 companies declared bankruptcy last year. The increase is 24,5 percent between years and most of the bankrupt companies were in the construction sector, or 203 companies.
Loftur Árnason, manager of Ístak, points out that in the fall of 2008 the company employed 1,000 people but now it has 400 employees and are still downsizing its workforce.
“The market here is ruined,” he says.
Gunnar Thorláksson, director of construction company Bygg hf says that when the economy was booming the company had 150 fulltime employees. Now it only employs 30 people who are mostly completing projects that had already started.
“There is nothing new happening in this sector. I have not seen a concrete sylo for a year and there is complete uncertainty about the future,” he said.
Thorláksson stated that it was extremely important that the wheels of the economy started moving again. He said there was utter lack of future vision for the construction sector and that there was great investment tied up in unfinished building projects. To complete these buildings and be able to rent them out or sell them would benefit all. He said those buildings were not as many as had been claimed and it was important that the banks and the government started to cooperate with the industry to complete these projects.