Vinci tops global ranking of mega-contractors

Vinci is the only non-­Chinese company to make it into the top five of highest-grossing global contractors in the latest rankings from US magazine Engineering New-Record (ENR).

Vinci, led by chairman and CEO Xavier Huillard (pictured), posted a turnover of $54.1bn globally in 2013 to keep its fifth place in the rankings, while Spanish firm Grupo ACS dropped out of the top five, falling from fourth place to sixth, with revenue of just over $51bn.

According to analysis by GCR’s sister publication, Construction Manager, three Chinese firms traded spots within the top three places. Highest earner was China State Construction Engineering Corp, which moved up from third last year with a turnover of nearly $97.9bn.

Moving down from last year’s number one spot into second place this year is China Railway Construction Corp, which made nearly $89bn.

Up from sixth place and into fourth is China Communications Construction Group, which posted revenue of nearly $54.2bn.

In all, seven of the top 20 global contractors are Chinese firms.

ENR points out that the top the 56% of the domestic contracting revenue came from Chinese contractors, which are benefiting from China’s huge infrastructure and rail programme.

ENR said China’s economy may be levelling off, but its industrial and buildings sectors remain vigorous.

The highest ranking British firm in the Top 250 Global Contractors list was Mace, which was placed 166th with revenue of $1.45bn. It was not in the list for 2013.

The magazine also spoke to a number of senior executives of major contractors about prospects in international market. Johan Karlström, chairman and chief executive of Swedish group Skanska AB, said Skanska has "a very positive view of the markets", especially Asia and North America. 

Vinci Construction has half its sales in France but is pushing for greater international operations, according to recently installed chief executive Jérôme Stubler. He wants to develop networks of subsidiaries headed by local managers to carry out projects on a general contracting basis.

However, ENR noted that Germany’s Bilfinger, formerly Bilfinger+Berger, has seen its civil engineering sales drop by 75% since 2008, leaving Bilfinger without critical mass for international work. Its chairman Roland Koch recently departed after issuing two profit warnings in quick succession.

Yves Gabriel, chief executive of Bouygues, told ENR that "the strongest markets are in Asia".  Bouygues won its first contract in Myanmar last year and is looking to expand there. "We are also building a luxury hotel designed by [architect] Zaha Hadid in Macau," said Gabriel, who also said that Hong Kong "remains very dynamic, particularly in the civil works".

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