The world's top 20 contractors 2014

A look at the latest ranking of the planet's biggest contractors

NEWS, Business, Doosan, Eiffage, Obayashi Corporation, Sekisui House, Sinohydro, Skanska, Strabag
Obayashi worked on the Dubai Metro project.
Obayashi worked on the Dubai Metro project.
A Strabag tunnel project at Niagara.
A Strabag tunnel project at Niagara.
A Bobcat telehandler.
A Bobcat telehandler.
L-R: Sekisui House president Toshinori Abe with Toshiba president Hisao Tanaka and Honda Motors'  Takanobu Ito (Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Image
L-R: Sekisui House president Toshinori Abe with Toshiba president Hisao Tanaka and Honda Motors' Takanobu Ito (Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Image
NEWS, Business, Doosan, Eiffage, Obayashi Corporation, Sekisui House, Sinohydro, Skanska, Strabag
Three Gorges Dam, built by Sinohydro.
Three Gorges Dam, built by Sinohydro.
The Metlife stadium, built by Skanska.
The Metlife stadium, built by Skanska.
HLG signing ceremony for the Jewel of the Creek project.
HLG signing ceremony for the Jewel of the Creek project.
Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, built by Fluor.
Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, built by Fluor.
A toilet developed for Daiwa House owners which monitors various aspects of their health.
A toilet developed for Daiwa House owners which monitors various aspects of their health.
Shanxi Datong Sports Centre.
Shanxi Datong Sports Centre.
RWE Tower, Essen, built by Hochtief.
RWE Tower, Essen, built by Hochtief.
NEWS, Business, Doosan, Eiffage, Obayashi Corporation, Sekisui House, Sinohydro, Skanska, Strabag
Hamad International Airport, Doha.
Hamad International Airport, Doha.
NEWS, Business, Doosan, Eiffage, Obayashi Corporation, Sekisui House, Sinohydro, Skanska, Strabag
Hangzhou bridge built by China Communications Construction.
Hangzhou bridge built by China Communications Construction.
Qatar's transport minister HE Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti inspects the Lusail LRT project.
Qatar's transport minister HE Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti inspects the Lusail LRT project.
NEWS, Business, Doosan, Eiffage, Obayashi Corporation, Sekisui House, Sinohydro, Skanska, Strabag
NEWS, Business, Doosan, Eiffage, Obayashi Corporation, Sekisui House, Sinohydro, Skanska, Strabag
China State Construction Engineering Corp's Middle East CEO Yu Tao.
China State Construction Engineering Corp's Middle East CEO Yu Tao.

A new ranking of the World's top 20 contractors has been published by UK-based magazine International Construction, which has reported that for the first time one construction company has achieved the feat of generating more than $100bn of revenues within 12 months.

The ongoing construction boom in China means contractors from the company dominate the list, with five of the ten biggest firms on the list coming from the country.

The top 20 also includes three Japanese firms, three from France and two from the US.

To find out who finished where, read on.

20 Obayashi
Country: Japan
Revenues: $16.5bn.

Japanese contractor is perhaps best known in the region for its work on the Dubai Metro, which is also building phase three of the Downtown Doha project in Qatar alongside local firm HBK Contracting.

The company fell by two places in this year's ranking, despite increasing revenues by 11.4% last year. Domestic building work made up for around 55% of its total revenues, with domestic civil engineering providing a further 20%.

The remainder came from overseas projects, but it has a medium-term business plan to concentrate on geographical expansion in three other markets - the Middle East, North America and South East Asia. 

19 Strabag
Country: Austria
Revenues: $16.6bn

Austrian contractor which moved up four places in the list to 19th. The company, which counts bridge construction, tunnelling, harbours and dams among its specialities, is a well-known name in the Gulf - thanks largely to its work in Oman.

The company, which has worked on projects across Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, employs around than 73,000 people. Around 9% of these are in the Middle East, making the region its largest market in terms of employee numbers outside of Germany and Austria.

 

18 Doosan Heavy Industries
Country: South Korea
Revenues: $17.9bn

The only one of the South Korean contracting giants to make the top 20, Doosan, like many of its compatriots, is very active in the Middle East - particularly so in Saudi Arabia where it has built many large-scale power and desalination plants.

Last year, the company even opened a new research & development centre in Dammam to develop new desalination technologies for use across the region.

The company is part of a conglomerate which had interests in a huge range of businesses, but in recent years has developed more of a focus on serving the infrastructure market - both through contracting and a machinery business which has its own heavy equipment range as well as owning the lightweight Bobcat range.

It also owns the UK-based engineering consultancy Babcock.

 

17 Sekisui House
Country: Japan
Revenues: $18.5bn

Sekisui House is one of Japan's biggeest housebuilders. It was originally part of the Sekisui Chemicals Company, but was spun off as an independent business in 1960 and by the end of January 2014 it had built almost 2.2bn homes.

The Osaka-based company is a developer as well as a builder, and also offers mortgages and other financial products. Alongside this, it has arms involved in facilities management, care homes, and an arm that will buy furniture and electricals goods to fit out homes.

The firm is also building houses in China, America, Russia and Australia.

Sekisui House also has interests in the fuel cells business and recently signed a deal with Toshiba and Honda Motors which will see the three collaborate on the development of a car powered by hydrogen and fuel cell technology.

16 Eiffage
Country: France
Revenues: $19bn

French contractor which has spread its operations across most of Europe, but not beyond. The company operates in 13 markets including the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic.

Past projects have included a series of major road projects including the A65 Motorway linking the city of Pau to the regional capital, Bordeaux, and a high-speed rail link over the French-Spanish border between Perpignan and Figueras.

The 44.4km line included an 8.3km-long tunnel.

15 Sinohydro
Country: China
Revenues: $20.1bn

The first of five Chinese companies in the top 20, Sinohydro has global revenues of over $20bn.

The company 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 Lusail 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.

14 Skanska
Country: Sweden
Revenues: $20.9bn

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.

13 Leighton Holdings
Country: Australia
Revenues: $21.7bn

Australian contractor which has quite a strong regional presence through its 45% share of the Habtoor Leighton contracting business.

The company, which has recently been the subject of a $1.25bn takeover bid by its biggest shareholder - German contractor Hochtief, which itself is largely owned by Spanish firm ACS - has not had the easiest of rides in the region. It bought a bought a 45% share in HLG for $793.3mn (A$870mn) in 2007.

Since then, it has written down the value of its investment by $325mn (A$357mn) and has extended loans and letters of credit as HLG struggled during the financial crisis.

A presentation accompanying Leighton Holdings' filed accounts for 2013 state that its total exposure to HLG now stands at $1.26bn (A$1.4bn), which is a $270mn ($A300mn) increase on 2012, due to foreign exchange movements and extended guarantees.

However, its position has stabilised in recent years and the division broke even last year, declaring an operating profit of $900,000.

This year, the company has also continued with a string of recent project wins, including a $1.7bn joint venture road project in Qatar with Al Jaber Engineering, a $395mn contract to build the next phase of Dubai's Jewel of the Creek project and a $78mn deal to build a new hotel in Oman's Saraya Bandar Jissah complex.

12 Fluor
Country: US
Revenues: $27.4bn

Texas-based EPC specialist which says that it designs and builds the world's toughest projects.

The company employs around 40,000 people worldwide and is active in the Middle East. The firm ranks at 110 in the Annual Fortune 500 list and operates in 25 countries worldwide.

The firm is a strong player in the Middle East and has picked up a series of major contracts within the past 18 months, including a project management deal to manage the $5bn Sharq Crossing in Qatar, a $410mn deal with Kuwait Oil Company to provide consultancy services under a five-year deal and, most recently, a contract from Dow for a new factory manufacturing reverse osmosis products in Saudi Arabia's Eastern province, which was awarded last month.

11 Daiwa House
Country: Japan
Revenues: $27.7bn

Housing and construction group which reported improved earnings in 2013 on the basis of having a better handle on its overheads as well as increasing revenues from rental homes and from the provision of more logistics and office space.

The company now has 43 overseas bases across the globe - a number which substantially increased last year after its deal to buy the Fujita Group finally gained approval. Fujita, which has architecture, construction, land management and facilities management arms, has an office in Dubai.

It makes the bulk (29.3%) of its revenues from rental income on properties, followed by 17.4% on building new houses and 16.9% on building offices and commercial premises.

10 China Metallurgical Group
Country: China
Revenues: $31.5bn

The first of five Chinese contractors to make up International Construction's top 10, China Metallurgical Corp is also one of the newest. It was 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.

Recently, the company's deputy general manager, Zhang Zheying, was expelled from the Communist Party of China after allegations of corruption were made against her. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission is investigating charges of "serious disciplinary and legal violations", including bribery allegations.

The firm was recently forced to temporarily close a mine in Papua New Guinea, after machinery and workers were attacked by local villagers. It has since reopened  and the firm said that it did not expect there to be any financial impact from the stoppage.

9 Hochtief
Country: Germany
Revenues: $34.1bn

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 now owns Leighton Holdings (13th 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.

8 Bouygues
Country: France
Revenues: $34.9bn

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.

7 Bechtel
Country: US
Revenues: $39.4bn

Privately-owned, US-based contractor with a major presence right across the region - most notably in Saudi Arabia, where it has been working with the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu on the development of Jubail Industrial City and, more recently, Ras Al Khair Industrial City.

The firm has been operating in the Kingdom for 70 years and is currently working on a number of significant projects, including the Riyadh Metro network, the King Abdullah project for Waad Al Shamaal city development, and the Economic Cities Authority on the development of four new economic cities across the Kingdom (alongside Atkins).

In the UAE it is working up a new masterplan for the expansion of Sharjah airport, while in Qatar the firm recently completed the handover of the Hamad International Airport, which Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) president David Welch recently told CW was a "stunning building of enormous space and character".

"The project has changed in scale, complexity and ambition during its development in order to meet the growing capacity demands," he said.

Worldwide, Bechtel employs 53,000 employees in nearly 40 countries.

6 ACS
Country: Spain
Revenues: $51bn

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 eight-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.

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.

Indeed, the group now earns around 96% of its overall revenues outside of Spain and in the past 12 months has won an EPC project to install 10 Ethylene Oxide Reactors in different SABIC-affiliated companies in Saudi Arabia, a facility to treat, manage and store naturally-occurring radioactive waste that occcurs during drilling for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and a deal to build and renovate warehouses in a plant owned by Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma'aden.

5 China Communications Construction (CCC), China
Country: China
Revenues: $52.9bn

China Communications Construction (CCC) is a transport and infrastructure specialist which has grown through activities in ports, dredging and railways, building more than 70 national railway lines including services between Beijing-Shanghai, Lanzhou-Chongqing amd Harbin-Dallan, among others. Within the past year, the firm has seen its backlog of projects double to $120bn.

CCC now operates in 120 countries worldwide and said that 23.4% (%$16.5bn) of its revenues last year came from overseas contracts. Some 12% of this was from the Middle East, where it is running the $611mn East Corridor project in Qatar and the $506mn contract to build a new flood control network in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

CCC has 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.

4 Vinci
Country: France
Revenues: $54.1bn

French-headquarted company which employs around 191,000 people in 100 countries.

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.

It is perhaps best known in the region, though, for its contracting joint venture with state-backed property investor Qatari Diar, QDVC.

It has won two major projects during the first six months of this year. In June, it picked up a $2.7bn (€2bn) project to build the final phase of the Lusail Light Rail Transit network as part of a joint venture with Alstom. The pair are currently delivering an earlier phase of the project, which is due to come into service over a phased period between 2018-2020.

In April, its joint venture with Qatari firm Bin Omran Trading & Contracting won a $1.16bn contract from Qatar's public works authority, Ashghal, to deliver a stretch of the New Orbital Highway and Truck Route under a three-year deal.

3 China Railway Group
Country: China
Revenues: $88.7bn

Railway construction giant which last year landed more than $150bn of new contracts.

The company also built 4,843km of new railway track in 2013, built 199km of new metro and light rail system lines and more than 1,000km of new highways.

The company, which operates predominantly in its home market, has around 290,000 employees on its books.

2 China Railway Construction Corporation
Country: China
Revenues: $93.1bn

China's other railway-building giant, CRCC, operates right across China as well as 69 countries across the world.

The firm has operated in the Middle East previously, having worked on Makkah-'s light transit network in Saudi Arabia.

Last year, it signed new contracts worth a total of $138bn.

The company has generated a significant amount of its revenues from property development projects on land at or close by to new railway projects.

 

1 China State Construction Engineering Co
Country: China
Revenues: $107.8bn

The state-backed Chinese construction giant has become the first contractor to earn revenues of more than $100bn.

The firm is also the one contractor to have made significant inroads into the Middle East region.

In Dubai, it built the Shoreline apartments at Palm Jumeirah, where it is also building (and investing in) the new, $1bn Palm Viceroy hotel.

Last month, the contractor announced that it had won contracts to build two further new hotels at Palm Jumeirah

The operators were not named, but both will be five-star resort hotels with a basement, ground and 13 upper floors containing a combined 592 standard rooms, 57 two-bay and three-bay suites and a presidential suite.

Since the start of the year, the firm has also picked up a $105mn contract for phase two of the Dubai Canal project, which involves building new bridges elevating Al Wasl Road and Jumeirah Road.

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