No change at the top

24 April 2008

Vinci and Bouygues have maintained their positions as Europe's largest and second-largest contractors respectively in this year's CE-100 league table of the region's top companies. In fact the top five is almost unchanged from last year. Hochtief and Skanska have traded places, but with € 224 million between them - less than 2% of their revenues - the distinction is a fine one. ACS is once again in fifth place.

Bovis Lend Lease has jumped into the top ten, displacing FCC. However, aside from a little shuffling around, the other top ten companies are the familiar names of Bam, Eiffage, Ferrovial and Amec that have been in these places for the last three years or so.

But further down the CE-100 there have been some significant changes. Walter Bau has dropped out of the listing from 29th place last year following its bankruptcy, and Mowlem is gone from 27th place, following its acquisition by Carillion. This deal was done at the end of last year, so is not yet reflected in Carillion's revenues. However, the timing of the purchase meant Mowlem did not publish 2005 financials, so it has not been possible to list the company, either on its own or as part of Carillion.


On the positive side, there have been some big gainers in this year's CE-100. Most notable is Saipem, an oil & gas-oriented contractor, the majority of which is owned by Italy's Eni Group. Saipem fully acquired its sister company Snamprogetti last year, leading to its 22 place leap up the table to 14th. This establishes Saipem as Italy's largest contractor, an honour previously held by 32nd- placed Impregilo.

Aker Kvaerner, another oil & gas contractor has also moved up significantly, but this is due to CE re-appraising how the company was ranked in the league table.

Another big climber is Enka, Turkey's largest contractor, which makes it into the top 40 for the first time. Other double-digit gainers include Porr, John Sisk, Babcock, Keller, Dura Vermeer and Emcor Drake & Scull. There are six new companies in the CE-100, the highest placed of which is Bellway.

Next Year

Next year's edition will see a full year of the Mowlem businesses that Carillion has retained in the company's accounts, so it is likely to take a big jump up the league table.

This year has also seen some significant corporate developments, which will reshape the CE-100 in 2007. Bouygues' acquisition of a stake in Alstom will undoubtedly add to the company's revenues this year. However, the full effects of this tie- up are not likely to be seen until the 2008 edition of the CE-100.

If Ferrovial succeeds in its acquisition of UK airports operator BAA it will certainly jump into the CE-100's top five. But like Bouygues the impact of the increased revenues from BAA may not be fully reflected in Ferrovial's annual results until the end of 2007 (the 2008 edition of the CE-100).

Amec's disposal of Spie will see it drop down the rankings, while the acquisitive Balfour Beatty will probably jump into the top 10. Acciona may also move up a few places if it is successful in acquiring the 50,06% it does not already own in Mostostal Warszawa. Its acquisition of desalination plant builder Pridesa in March will also bolster its revenues.

Further down the table, the merger of Batigroup and Zschokke could propel it into the top 40, while Galliford Try could move up 10 places or so following its acquisition of Morrison Construction.

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