St. Pete Projects Hurt Finnish Builder

HELSINKI — Delays at real estate projects in Russia and a weak market in the Baltic countries hit Finnish construction group YIT's second-quarter profits and sent its shares tumbling to three-year lows.

"The performance in the international construction services was very disappointing," said Pohjola analyst Matias Rautionmaa.

"A lot of expectation has been put on international construction and Russia especially, and this is a big disappointment."

YIT's April-June operating profit fell to 70.5 million euros ($110.5 million) from 78.5 million the previous year, missing all analysts' forecasts, ranging from 83 million euros to 96 million euros.

The company said two large real estate development projects in the St. Petersburg area were delayed, hurting second-quarter profits, and that more costs from those were likely this year.

But despite the delays, CEO Hannu Leinonen said the company was still working toward reaching its long-term target of annual 50 percent sales growth in Russia.