PORR operates in various CEE jurisdictions. Could you highlight differences between the Polish and Romanian real estate markets?

Poland boasts a more mature market, even in secondary strong regional pillars beyond Warsaw. Romania is rapidly catching up, potentially leading to similar exquisite projects, particularly in offices. Bucharest’s seismic risk has driven a rethinking of projects, impacting the skyline’s development.

Over the past decade, how have you observed the transformation of the regional real estate market?

While cities are enhancing aesthetics, the industry has room for growth in ethics and quality. Austria’s top six contractors hold 40% of the market compared to Romania’s first twenty, indicating market fragmentation. Balancing this fragmentation will foster a more homogenized real estate environment.

Real estate’s role in PORR’s portfolio is intriguing. Could you elaborate on its significance?

In 2019, our turnover was split evenly between infrastructure and real estate. In 2020, amid the pandemic, focus shifted from office projects to public works in environmental engineering. Though residential projects aren’t a primary focus, we’re interested in clients committed to high-quality, long-term revenue-generating buildings.

Shifting focus during the pandemic was crucial. What strategies helped mitigate challenges?

Besides infrastructure and civil projects, we expanded into healthcare, defense, and industry sectors. Initiatives in Constanta, including environmental projects around Mamaia-Navodari, and expanding public clients’ portfolios towards the East were vital. Markets like Constanta, Moldova’s cities (Galati, Bacau, Iasi), hold significant yet untapped development potential.

Workforce quality is a persistent issue. What has been your experience in this domain?

Consolidating the existing workforce, often scattered across small unregistered companies, is crucial. The construction sector’s allure requires careful handling; unprepared contractors may struggle financially. Strategic decisions, like adjusting prices amid fluctuating commodity costs, are necessary. Qualified individuals exist, but discouraging the Wild West construction market in favor of serious projects is vital.

What are PORR’s main objectives for the next few years?

Our focus is becoming a local player, expanding across various regions. Establishing a presence in secondary markets, representing 80% of the Romanian construction market, is a priority for our Bucharest-based company.

What’s your final message about Romania’s real estate construction market?

International players must understand that Romania’s perceived political instability isn’t a significant market challenge. Real estate projects operate smoothly here despite changing political figures. The market continues its course despite public perceptions.

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