Looking back at the accomplishments of last year, UPB has marked two main directions - new product development and a focus on larger, more complex projects. Last year, based on non-audited data, the turnover of UPB has reached 149 million euros. In turn, in 2018, a stable growth in turnover of more than 10% is expected.
In 2017, many new products with higher value added were created in the UPB group enterprises. New products are based upon a higher level of prefabrication of the product, as well as a combination of various types of constructions in one product. For example, prefab concrete wall elements, with in-built aluminium profile windows and a prefabricated brick finishing. Such solution combines steel, concrete and glass constructions, while the high prefabrication level enables faster fulfilment of assembly works of a considerably higher quality, than when carrying out the assembly of each separate construction on site. In collaboration with Riga Technical University and the Smart Material Competence Centre, several research and development projects have been launched in the field of concrete and prefab concrete, for the purposes of studying new materials and developing unique products.
UPB projects are becoming increasingly larger and more complex. The most significant project in 2017 was the 28-storey and 115-metre-high office building Stockholm New in Sweden. The design of its irregularly-shaped steel and prefab concrete constructions has been carried out by UPB engineers, and UPB will also perform the production, logistics and assembly of these constructions. At the end of the year, the largest contract in export markets in the entire history of UPB has been concluded - construction of the student campus quarters, with a value of more than 20 million euros. The largest project in Latvia last year was the construction of the IKEA Shopping Centre, expected to be put into operation this year, and the building development of the arena of Liepāja Olympic Centre (LOC).
UPB's offer of Design&Build contract projects has triggered active customer interest in Latvia. These are projects offering both design and construction together. Such a solution is quite topical at the moment, in light of the increasing demand in the field of construction in Latvia in the coming years. Last year, one of the large-scale Design&Build projects was the LOC arena, the opening of which is expected at the beginning of March, as well as the design and construction of the aircraft hangar for Baku Airport in Azerbaijan, which we plan to complete this year.
UPB takes an active part in the current arrangement of the construction environment in Latvia. The ID card system was already introduced in the large-scale projects of UPB in the middle of the year, allowing us to monitor the hours worked by people, their qualification, as well as to carry out control of access to the project.
Last year was also a year of qualitative growth and consolidation of our engineers. We expanded the UPB engineering office in Belarus, already joining the team of 11 people, designing several foreign projects on a constant basis. We are planning to continue the expansion of our engineering team and will shortly establish a structural unit of UPB engineers in Lithuania.