European contractors see surge in international orders

By Chris Sleight31 October 2011

Figures in € billion

Figures in € billion

European contractors won € 171 billion (US$ 244 billion) worth of new contracts outside the national home markets last year, according to new statistics from the European International Contractors (EIC) trade association. This represented a +19.7% increase on the previous year's figure of € 143 billion (US$ 204 billion), and is the highest total ever recorded.

The volume of international work carried out by European contractors last year was almost unchanged on 2009 levels at € 141 billion (US$ 201 billion), and down just over -4% from the peak of € 147 billion (US$ 209 billion) seen in 2008.

Asia & Oceania, along with Africa led the charge for new contracts last year, with growth close to +50%. There was strong support from other emerging markets, with the Middle East up +24.7% and Latin America up +20.8%.

In contrast, new international contracts in Europe were up just +3.0%, although this region was still the largest, with a value of € 65.1 billion (US$ 92.7 billion). New contract wins in the US and Canada were up +11.6% to € 22.4 billion (US$ 31.9 billion).

Although the value of work done last year was level with 2009, this hid a sharp +31.6% increase from Asia and a +9.7% increase in Latin American activity. All other regions of the world saw the value of work done by European contractors fall last year, with the sharpest decline being the -11% fall in the Middle East.

Emerging vs. Developed

The surge in new orders from emerging markets last year saw the value of business won in these countries rise to its highest ever at € 83.7 billion (US$ 119 billion) - 49% of the total. It was the sixth year in a row that the proportion of new contracts won in these regions by Europeans has risen, and compares to just € 20.7 billion (US$ 29.5 billion), or 23.7% of the total in 2004.

In terms of work done, emerging markets accounted for 39.6% of the total last year, or € 56.1 billion (US$ 80 billion). It was the seventh consecutive year that the proportion and value of work carried out in emerging markets has risen for European contractors.

A full report on the EIC's international contracting statistics will be published in the November issue of International Construction.

For more information about the EIC, visit

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