Three Chinese contractors topped International Construction's (iC's) 2012 ranking of the world's 200 largest construction companies for the second year running. The league table, which is based on revenues in 2011, saw China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) overtake the country's two largest railway contractors to claim the top spot.

Two other Chinese contractors - China Communications Construction Group and China Metallurgical Group (MCC) were also ranked in the top 10. They were joined by Vinci, ACS, Bouygues and Hochtief from Europe, while Bechtel was the only US contractor in the top 10. The highest-placed Japanese construction company was Daiwa House at no.12.

Among the biggest climbers up the rankings were three companies involved in the petrochemical and oil & gas construction sector, including JGC and Petrofac. Heavy fallers meanwhile included US residential construction companies D R Horton and Pulte Group, as well as Spanish contractors Sacyr and Ferrovial.

Total revenues for the top 200 contractors came in at US$ 1.48 trillion - a +13% increase from the previous year. However, profitability, as measured by the average operating margin of the group of companies, was down on the previous year by 0.1 percentage points to 4.60%. Total employment among the Top 200 was estimated at 4.75 million people - a +4.6% increase on the previous year's figure of 4.54 million employees.

Chinese contractors once again took the largest share of total revenues, at 23.2% or US$ 344 billion. They were followed by Japanese (14.2%, US$ 211 billion) and US (12.1%, US$ 179 billion) companies. Almost a quarter of the companies in the Top 200 were form the developing world. This was a record number, and their total revenues - US$ 460 billion, or 31% of the total - was also a record in terms of the absolute amount and the share of the top 200.

iC editor Chris Sleight said, "The slowdown in Chinese construction activity has clearly had an impact on this year's rankings, but there was still growth for many of the country's largest contractors last year. At the same time, we have seen improvements for global contractors focussed on key areas such as energy and resources, and we have also seen a surge for companies in key emerging markets - most notably Brazil, and to a lesser extent, India."

The full ranking is published in the July-August edition of iC. The ranking is also available to buy from the information store - either as a 1-year report, or as a multi-annual study, comprising five Top 200 rankings form 2008 to 2012.

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