01 May 2008
Total sales for all the companies in the ce-100 came to € 265 million last year, a +7,7% increase on last year's total of € 246 billion. With construction output in Europe growing at about +2% over the same period, this would suggest that these 100 large companies increased their market share last year.
There is inevitably some double counting within this figure. Wholly owned subsidiaries are not included in the CE-100, but there are several companies listed that are partially owned by others in the league table. It is also likely that companies within the table carry out work for each other as sub-contractors from time to time, so again that work would be counted twice in the total. Be that as it may, it is interesting to reflect that superficially, these 100 contractors represent just over 25% of the € 1000 billion total European construction output.
The profitability of the CE-100 improved last year, with the average operating margin increasing +0,41 percentage points to 5,69%, from 5,28% last year. This is the second year in a row of marked improvement from the 2000 to 2002 period, when margins were struck around 4,7% to 4,9%. It will be interesting to see if this improvement continues over the coming years-while the developments in 2003 and 2004 have been good for the industry, a gross margin of 5,69% is still not a particularly good one.
The average headcount of a CE-100 company is 11784 employees, a +0,9% increase on the average workforce number of 11680 people last year. Although not all companies report employee numbers, it is interesting to reflect that this figure implies that total employment in the CE-100 is 1,19 million people. FIEC estimates that the EU15 has about 1,8 million construction companies employing 11,7 million people, so this figure implies that the top 100 companies (or the top 0,006% of companies) provide about 10% of the industry's employment. growth, which saw the company's sales increase +80% last year.
This year looks like the last in the CE-100 for Walter Bau, which was placed 29th this year. The same may be true of Jarvis (39th), as it wrestles with its on-going debt problems. Aside from these, mergers and acquisitions will undoubtedly play a part in the shape of next year's CE-100. The high number of medium-sized UK players points to the need for consolidation, and with the country's construction industry slowing, this may well happen if profitability starts to slip. However, there are unlikely to be any big changes at the top of the CE-100. Even if there is a ‘mega merger’ on the scale of ACS and Dragados, it will take a full year of sales before this is reflected in the table.