In spite of current market challenges, the main European construction and engineering groups appeared to be unaffected by the crisis, posting strikingly positive performances in term of both activity and margins.
In this study, we analyse the reasons for this sharp divergence between the poor performance of the construction and engineering sector and the apparent success of major companies within the sector.
Our data is drawn from the annual reports and presentations of the seven largest construction and engineering companies listed on the European markets: Bouygues, Eiffage and Vinci for France, ACS for Spain, Strabag for Germany, Austria and Central Europe, Balfour Beatty for the UK and Skanska for Northern Europe.
The sound performance of leading European construction and engineering groups against a troubled European market background seems mainly due to their ability to expand into international growth areas, their capacity for innovation and their mastery of complex projects due to globally recognised technical expertise. The failure of smaller-scale organisations and the gradual concentration of the sector, also probably contributed to this performance.
Major construction firms and the economic downturn
The strategies developed by major companies in the construction and public works sector are key to understanding their performance against a macroeconomic backdrop that has worsened considerably since the financial crisis.