In the region Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Sika has invested in 19 new factories, 15 additional national subsidiaries and 7 acquisitions since 2012. As one of the world’s largest economies, Russia in particular is showing huge potential. The construction sector contributes 6.5% of the gross domestic product. By pursuing a strategy of systematically expanding the local value chain, Sika creates advantages for itself and its customers: timely production, short delivery periods, and optimized cost structures.
When Peter the Great began building Saint Petersburg over 300 years ago, he laid the foundation stone for a city of grandiose architecture. Horizontal lines dominate the historic city center with its impressive array of 2,300 palaces, mansions and other magnificent buildings. The only city in the world that can surpass Saint Petersburg in this respect is Venice. It was all the more crucial to take steps to protect this cultural heritage. This prompted the decision to build the new, multifunctional Lakhta Center – with its tower as a vertical counterpoint – nine kilometers outside the center of the city. A division of Gazprom will be headquartered there. Numerous public amenities are to be housed within the Center. The Lakhta Tower will be the tallest building in Europe.
Flawless quality in a single pour
The task of firmly anchoring the 462-meter high Lakhta Tower posed particular challenges for the foundations. Mounted on 264 pillars reaching 82 meters below ground level, a 3.6-meter thick bottom slab covering an area of 5,700 m2 was poured in a single seamless operation. Sika® ViscoCrete® was the technology of choice to achieve this logistical master stroke. Drawing on Sika’s know-how and a specific formulation of Sika® ViscoCrete®, Sika® Retarder and Sika® Antisol®, a concrete was developed that matched the specifications exactly. This guaranteed the necessary constancy of the concrete’s pump, flow and curing properties and a pot life of 8-10 hours. The ready-mixed concrete was manufactured in 13 different plants and transported to the construction site in a total of 2,540 trips. Thanks to Sika, the concrete could be poured in one continuous 50-hour period to form a solid, uniform foundation. This feat even earned an entry in Guinness World Records. The design by British architect Tony Kettle features a giant glass facade with an area the size of 28 soccer pitches. It has to satisfy the highest of aesthetic, structural and – above all – insulation requirements. The sustainability target for the LEED Gold precertified building is to meet the most rigorous standards in terms of energy conservation and reduced CO2 emissions. This is why Sika solutions were chosen for the construction of the facade, as illustrated by the use of the silicone sealant Sikasil® in the manufacture of the partially curved multiple insulated glazing. Other Sika solutions such as waterproof membranes and adhesives are used at the building site to seal and fix glass elements to the facade.
Sika’s model for success
Thanks to anticyclical investments, Sika can also boast a success story in Russia. Established in 2003, the national subsidiary numbers almost 200 employees, spread over the head office in Lobnya near Moscow, a major distribution site in Saint Petersburg, and sales and distribution centers in all of the country’s densely populated regions. Sika relies on local production using raw materials from qualified Russian suppliers and on employees familiar with the market – in other words, on a domestic value chain with “Made in Russia” end products.
This strategy not only has the advantage of optimizing costs by reducing transport distances and import duties, it also means protection from currency fluctuations and shortens delivery times. The Russian authorities are also promoting domestic production to create new jobs in the building sector. Already the number one producer of concrete admixtures in Russia today, Sika aims to increase its market share. By expanding existing local production capacity and scaling up distribution structures, the groundwork for future growth is being done.
Potential with future
BMI Research estimates Russian construction market potential in 2017 at around CHF 80 billion, with Moscow accounting for a significant part. In addition to large government investment projects directed, for instance, at extending long-distance transport networks, building or renovating stadiums and developing the necessary infrastructure for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, industrial construction is also driving demand. Goods that were previously imported are now being replaced by locally sourced products, as exemplified by the food industry. There is also a need for investment in the timber-processing, raw materials and energy sectors. And Sika is right there at the center of things.