Hit by shrinkages in both the public and private sector markets, four of the nation’s five largest construction companies on Tuesday reported sharp falls in both sales and profits in the fiscal first half.

The four firms are Kajima Corp., Taisei Corp., Shimizu Corp. and Ohbayashi Corp.

Shimizu Corp. revealed the worst results, with group sales having dropped 25.5 percent on a year-on-year basis to 496.28 billion yen.

Its operating profit dropped 51.4 percent to 8.41 billion yen, while its pretax profit fell 49.2 percent to 5.9 billion yen. The firm’s net profit dropped 70.5 percent to 1.23 billion yen.

The private sector construction market has shrunk amid a decade-long economic slump, while the debt-ridden central and local governments have also been slashing their public works budgets in recent years.

Taisei Corp. consequently saw its consolidated sales fall 14.5 percent to 611 billion yen in the six-month period.

The firm’s group operating profit fell 46.4 percent to 6.9 billion yen, while its pretax profit fell 58.9 percent to 3.51 billion yen.

Taisei’s net profit in the first half came in at 3.19 billion yen.

Kajima Corp., the nation’s largest construction firm in terms of sales, saw its group sales slide 3.7 percent to 822.79 billion yen.

The company’s operating profit fell 24 percent to 12.5 billion yen, while its pretax profit decreased 57.5 percent to 5 billion yen.

Its net profit dropped 92 percent to 2.47 billion yen.

The half-year sales of Ohbayashi Corp. fell 6.3 percent to 494.53 billion yen, forcing the company into the red.

Ohbayashi posted operating losses of 4 billion yen, pretax losses of 5.66 billion yen and net losses of 4.43 billion yen in the period.

Takenaka Corp., the fifth contractor in the top bracket, reported in September that it had logged its worst half-year earnings results on record in the January-June period.

The firm’s sales fell 17 percent to 503.7 billion yen, while its operating losses came in at 2.6 billion yen on a consolidated basis.

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