Bechtel tops ENR Top 400 Contractors list for 19th straight year

Dive Brief:

  • Engineering News-Record released its 2017 Top 400 Contractors rankings Thursday, and, for the 19th consecutive year, international construction and engineering firm Bechtel came out on top.
  • Fluor Corp., The Turner Corp., CB&I, AECOM, Kiewit Corp., Skanska USA, PCL Construction Enterprises, Tutor Perini Corp. and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company rounded out the top 10 firms — the same group as last year.
  • Total revenue of the Top 400 contractors increased in 2016 by 6.5% to $366.41 billion. Domestic revenue rose 9.7% to $322.83 billion, while revenue from foreign projects took another hit last year — a 12.5% drop to $43.58 billion.

Dive Insight:  

Both foreign and domestic firms have been gearing up for increased infrastructure work in the U.S. AECOM recently formed a federal contracting division to handle military, General Services Administration and State Department projects, and the company has reportedly been gearing up for a five-year, $3.5 billion program of acquisitions and investment with the goal of becoming the biggest infrastructure firm in the world. 

The tight lending environment has popped up as a concern among the Top 400, with many seeking alternative financing over traditional banks. While these options often cost more, they can often be delivered quickly without having to comply with some of the more onerous federal regulations.

Bechtel continues to dominate foreign contracting work. In February, the Saudi Arabia government awarded Bechtel a major contract to support the country's National Project Management Office in its effort to efficiently administer an estimated $1 trillion worth of capital projects as part of its Vision 2030 plan. And in June 2016, Bechtel renewed its contract for the Jubail city project in Saudi Arabia for five years. The city is considered the biggest industrial development in the world, at 250,000 acres.

In its 2016 report of the Top 400 contractors last year, ENR found that 2015 domestic revenue rose 9.5% to $294.35 billion, while foreign revenue dropped 21.1% to $49.79 billion. The international downturn in mining and energy projects contributed to weak global performance, but Brendan Bechtel, president and COO of Bechtel, said there were significant opportunities abroad for "smart and disciplined" construction companies. The flipside, which posed somewhat of a threat to U.S. contractors, was the fact that the downturn in foreign markets was driving international contractors to compete for projects in this this country.  

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Filed Under: Commercial Building Infrastructure Corporate News
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