Updated-The 25 biggest contractors in the world
A gallery of the world's biggest construction companies by revenue
There was a great deal of comment in the market last year about a potential slowdown in China and what it would mean for both the construction sector and the economy worldwide.
However, as an updated ranking of the top contractors in the world by revenues has proven, this slowdown is only relative.
A recent survey by market research firm Freedonia indicated that China's construction market grew by an average of 16% a year from 2007-12. Its forecast for 2013-17 is not quite as optimistic, but still predicts a growth rate of 8.5%.
A ranking of the top 250 global companies by US-based Engineering News Record late last year showed that five of the top ten construction companies in the world are now headquartered in the Chinese capital of Beijing.
Of the top 25 contractors in the world by revenues, seven were based in China. To find out who they were, and who else made the list, read on...
Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co, South Korea
Biggest of the South Korean contracting giants in revenue terms, and one which is active in the Middle East.
The company is working on a number of big-ticket schemes across the UAE, particularly in Qatar where the firm is building the new Qatar National Museum and in August led a joint venture which picked up a $301m deal to build new facilities at the Doha New Port project in August 2013.
Balfour Beatty, UK
London-based Balfour Beatty is another firm with a diverse worldwide revenue footprint, including in the Middle East.
Its takeover of Parsons Brinckerhoff has also given it an engineering consultancy presence across the GCC, and has meant that it is involved in some major infrastructure projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, including the $7bn Saudi Landbridge rail project, the Makkah Metro project and the Doha Expressway.
Taisei Corp, Japan
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempts to revitalise Japan's languid economy with a massive dose of economic stimulus last year appears to be paying off.
Although Taisei Corporation slipped one place down last year's list, a briefing given by the company's president covering its financial year to March 2014 stated that new orders increased "dramatically" last year - particularly from healthcare firms who are keen to build facilities before a new consumption tax is introduced.
They said that it expects overall revenues to remain steady, though, as some of the major infrastructure projects in the country are not expected to feed into its sales until its next financial year.
Shimizu Corp, Japan
This 210 year-old company has offices spread across Asia, as well as a presence in Dubai and Turkey in the Middle East, in four European countries and one office in Africa (Zambia). Despite this, a recently-published breakdown of its 2012 earnings showed that domestic work still comprised the overwhelming majority of its revenues, with just 7% of its sales coming from overseas.
Saipem is unsurprisingly active in the region, given the fact that one of its core markets is in oil & gas.
The company, however, has had a difficult 12 months in 2013. When it recently published its third quarter figures, it said that although it expects full-year sales to rise to $17.1bn, it expects to declare a net loss of $410m-$478m (E300m-350m).
Its 2012 results were boosted by a deal announced in November that year agreed with Saudi Aramco to provide 13 onshore dirlling rigs under a three-year deal to sites in the Kingdom, South America and Kazakhstan.
Kajima Corp, Japan
Kajima Corporation fell five places down ENR's rankings in 2012, but the firm may be hoping that a proposed extension of Dubai's Metro (it worked on construction of the Metro lines) could lead to a revival of its work in the region.
Its share of revenues from worldwide projects has dropped from more than 20% in 2009 to 15.5% last year.
FCC, or Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas to give the firm its full name, scored the biggest ever international deal landed by a Spanish contractor overseas in 2013 when a consortium it was leading landed an $8bn contract to build three of the six lines for Riyadh Metro.
The company is partnering with six other firms on the deal to build lines four, five and six of the $23.5bn mega-project, including Samsung, Alstom, Strukton, Freyssinet Saudi Arabia and engineering firms Typsa and Setec.
It expects more than 15,000 jobs to be created in the Kingdom, where it had already won a number of contracts to improve water networks in the same city. In total, it is installing over 6,000km of new water pipes to serve 3mn people.
The firm has also won water treatment work in Abu Dhabi, and is building walkways at the Barzan Camp housing development near Doha in Qatar. Other landmark projects in the region include the Dubai cricket stadium and metro and stadium work in Algeria.
Construtora Norberto Odebrecht, São Paulo, Brazil
Odebrecht has enjoyed a couple of bumper years in the run-up to this year's Fifa World Cup, with the company being responsible for delivering the upgrade of the iconic Maracana stadium, which will host the final of the event. It has also been busy with major infrastructure projects ahead of the games including new commueter trains in Rio de Janeiro, a new metro system in Sao Paolo and an overhaul of Rio's docks.
The company's stronghold is in South and Central America, where it has held a presence in Argentina and Ecuador for the past 25 years and at Colombia and Mexico for 20.
Oderbrecht is also looking to push further afield to grow its worldwide presence, which has involved more than 1,700 company employees working on projects overseas, including in the UAE where it has delivered pumping station work worth $572m as part of the $1.7bn Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme for a new sewer network in Abu Dhabi.
Obayashi Corp, Japan
The biggest of the Japanese contractors on the list, and one with a growing footprint in the Middle East. The company, which made a profit of $129m in the year to March 2013, employs over 8,000 staff worldwide.
In the GCC, it is best known for its role as part of the consortium that built Dubai's Metro, but scored its first major contract in Qatar last year when its joint venture with local firm HBK Contracting was awarded a $686m deal to build Phase 3 of Msheireb Properties' Downtown Doha project.
Skanska AB, Sweden
Skanska Group is a major player both in the Americas and throughout Europe, but has not moved into the Middle East market. The company, which has been run by Johan Karlstron since 2008, employs 57,000 people around the world. It is something of a public-private partnerships (PPP) specialist, but still earns the bulk (89%) of its revenues from core construction activities.
Another name that is familiar in the Gulf - thanks largely to its work in Oman, where it has been working on a number of major infrastructure projects including roads, ports and airports.
The company, which has worked on projects across Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, employs more than 74,000 people. It is an infrastructure specialist and was behind the Sheikh Khalifa bridge in Abu Dhabi. The company also carries out much of its work under PPP deals, with 55% of its commissioning clients from the public sector.
However, Europe remains its stronghold and only 2% of its 2012 revenues came from the Middle East. However, in its most recent annual report the firm said this market was being "worked more intensely" due to the opportunities in the region, although it added that price competition meant it would focus on higher-value such as tunnelling.
Sinohydro Group, China
The first of the seven Chinese contractors on the list, SinoHydro was started in the 1950s as a state-owned company specialising in hydroelectric power plants. It now makes around over $5bn of the $20.1bn in revenues earned each year from overseas projects - and almost half of this comes from Africa.
It is also active in the Middle East, where it has been involved with construction works at the Lusai development, at Sidra Village and at the Hamad International Airport where it built the runway capable of handling new Airbus A380s. It has also been involved with installing a new wastewater treatment network in Oman and a pair of hotel towers in Abu Dhabi.
Shanghai Construction Group, China
Shanghai Construction Group has been around for over 50 years, but has grown rapidly over the past two decades as its home city became a boom town.
The company has been responsible for some special engineering feats, including the Shanghai Maglev - the world's first commercial maglev line - and the East China Sea Bridge, but it is not as geographically diverse as some of the other major Chinese players.
Fluor Corp, USA
Fluor is a Fortune 500 company that delivers engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance (EPCM), and project management to governments and clients in diverse industries around the world.
It is a strong player in oil & gas and minerals, and as a result is an active player in the Gulf's construction markets.
Within the past 12 months, it has won scores of new projects in the region including a $410m contract in Kuwait to provide consultancy services to the national oil company under a five-year deal, a deal to project manage the $7bn Saudi Landbridge rail project alongside Parsons Brinckerhoff and a $185m deal from Ashghal to surpervise the $5bn Sharq crossing project that involves running road tunnels under Doha Bay to ease congestion.
Leighton Holdings, Australia
Australian construction giant whose presence in the region is largely through its 45% stake in Dubai-based Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG), for which it paid just under $800m (A$870m) in 2007.
Although the deal has had problems, with Leighton Holdings providing over $500m in loans and $258m in letters of credit and guarantees, the company has said that it is confident of its long term prospects and the partners are preparing the firm to be ready for initial public offering of the company's shares by 2016.
HLG has also secured a number of major project wins over the past 12 months, including a $395m deal from Al Habtoor Group to build three residential towers as part of the $3bn Habtoor City project in Dubai. HLG is also active in other GCC territories, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman.
Bechtel is a privately-owned company which employs more than 53,000 people in 140 countries.
The Middle East is becoming a key focus for the company and is now home to both its global ports rail centre of excellence and a new regional mining hub for the Middle East and North Africa - both of which are based in a newly-established regional office in Dubai. The company has worked on a number of huge projects across the region, including Abu Dhabi's $7bn Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone.
The major highlight for the firm last year was winning the $10bn contract for lines 1 and 2 of the Riyadh Metro. It is the biggest of the three deals in terms of project value, due to the complexity of the work (it has the biggest underground sections and most stations).
Elsewhere in the region, Bechtel is also set to complete both the $15.5bn Hamad International Airport in Qatar and the new $1.7bn Muscat International Airport this year, and at Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabia it is entering the 40th year of its partnership with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu overseeing the city's future development.
China Metallurgical Group Corp, China
China's fourth-biggest contracting company was only formed in 1982 but is the biggest metallurgical contracting company in the world, with a presence in over 90 countries and a listing on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges.
The company builds everything from big, industrial complexes and power plants in its home country to hotels and leisure projects on the island of Guam in the Pacific Ocean to road projects in Bangladesh and the Hassan Sports City stadium complex in Jordan.
Subsidiary of the Bouygues group, Bouygues Construction is a global player in the building, civil works, energies and services sectors. Organised as seven complementary entities, it has proven expertise in financing, designing, constructing, maintaining and operating buildings and structures, offering its customers a vast range of innovative solutions.
In the Middle East, Bouygues recently has focussed its efforts on Qatar, where it is carrying out construction of the new QP district containing Qatar Petroluem's headquarters.
The work is being carried out through its Bouygues Batiment International arm, which specialises in complex construction projects and also has offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The firm also owns post-tensioning specialist VSL, which has carried out lots of bridge and infrastructure projects, as well as a facilities management arm, Ecovert, with operations in the UAE and Kuwait.
Hochtief is based in Essen, Germany and is one of the world's biggest contractors in its own right, but it has also acquired sizeable stakes in other construction firms from around the world. For instance, it owns a majority (53.4%) stake in Leighton Holdings (11th on this list) and Turner Construction in the US.
Contracting work therefore largely goes through the HLG venture in the Middle East, although Hochtief retains its own construction management arms based in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, as well as its own BIM consulting arm, Hochtief Vicon.
Hochtief's origins dates back to 1874 and includes engineering feats such as the transplantation of the Abu Simbel rock temples in Egypt (saving them from the rise of the River Nile caused by the Aswan High Dam) and infrastructure projects like the new Athens International Airport and Germany's first nuclear power plant.
More recent constructions have included Bosporus Bridge (Turkey), King Abdulaziz International Airport (Saudi Arabia) and the Messeturm and Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt.
China Communications Construction (CCC), China
China Communications Construction (CCC) has become a giant of the construction sector, which employs over 110,000 people and more than 30 different business units involved in infrastructure, buildings, dredging, heavy machinery manufacturing and other types of business.
The firm owns ZPMC - the manufacturer of heavy-duty cranes that are now lining more of the Middle East's new container handling terminals, while dredging subsidiaries such as China Harbour Engineering Co and CCC Guangzhou Dredging Company, have picked up major deals in Qatar (at the New Port Project) and Kuwait (Subiya Crossing) successively.
The company's infrastructure arm also won a trio of contracts from the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu for infrastructure contracts in Saudi Arabia early last year worth $77.3m.
French headquarted company which has completed more than 265 projects and employed 192,701 people at its 2012 year end.
The company has operations throughout the Middle East, where it operates under a number of brands including contractor Freyssinet, environment engineering consultancy DEC, Dredging International, vibro-compaction company Menard and Sainrapt Contracting Co.
Grupo ACS, Spain
Grupo ACS is another major construction company with wide-reaching tentacles. It is not only the parent firm of companies such as contractors ACS and Dragados, it also owns almost half (49.9%) of the seventh-biggest company on this list (Hochtief), with sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding (10%) as a partner.
The company was founded in 1997 through the merger of OCP Construcciones, S.A. and Gines Navarro Construcciones, S.A. and is one of the leading construction companies in the world.
The group has a global presence, including countries like Germany, India, Brazil, Chile and Morocco. The headquarters are in Madrid and its chairman and CEO is Florentino Perez, current president of Spanish La Liga giants, Real Madrid.
It owns engineering consultant Tecsa, which was part of the FCC consortium that bagged the Riyadh Metro contract, while Dragados last year picked up a $400m contract to build a polyacetel plant in Saudi Arabia.
China State Construction Engineering Corp, China
There isn't much to pick between China's (and the world's) biggest construction firms in terms of revenue, with all achieving turnover of over $80bn in 2012. China State Construction Engineering Corp (CSCEC) seems to be the one that is pushing hardest to establish a base in the Middle East, though, under regional CEO Yu Tao.
The company is just completing work on the Southern Sun Hotel, and is delivering both the steel supply and the HVAC package on the new Midfield Terminal Building in Abu Dhabi. On top of this, the company made its first real estate development in the region last year after becoming a partner in Skai Holdings' $1bn Palm Viceroy hotel resort project on the Palm Jumeirah.
China Railway Group, China
China Railway Group has become the second-biggest contractor in the world largely on the strength of the infrastructure boom in its home market.
The company, whose shares are listed on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, recently offered to finance and build Britain's $50bn High Speed 2 rail network, which will initially stretch from London to Birmingham and then eventually on to Manchester and Leeds. In the most recent ranking of the World's Top Companies, China Railway Group slipped to 112th from 95th as investigations into waste and potential corruption in the Chinese rail construction sector have begun.
China Railway Construction Corp, China
Like many of China's massive construction firms, China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC) has its fingers in more pies than its name would suggest. Alongside infrastructure and rail projects, the company has divisions in engineering design, manufacturing, property, logistics and a range of other industries.
Again, the bulk of its revenues come from major rail projects in its home country, but it has operations in around 60 countries in total and was behind the Makkah light rail project which opened in 2011.