Why should anyone care about the top 7 construction companies in France? If I say ‘French architecture,’ you may come back at me with the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, or perhaps even the Channel Tunnel, an underwater marvel that connects France to the United Kingdom. When we think about construction though, we don’t often take into account the slightly less-flashy projects that, while a bit more mundane, are infinitesimally more vital to the functioning of any heavily-populated area.
Think about the roads and highways you drive on, the ports our trade ships pull into, the office buildings out of which we work, and the residential spaces that we call home. After architects have finished the blueprints for each of these endeavors, all of these bits of infrastructure were brought to life by construction companies, many of whom go unnoticed in such roles.
France is no exception to this rule. With a rapidly-rebounding construction sector that continues to gain momentum by the day, French construction firms are playing an increasingly active role in the development of infrastructure throughout the nation. At a glance, here’s a look at the industry in the past year alone:
- According to the French Builders Association FFB (Federation Francaise du Batiment), French construction activity grew in volume by 1.9% in 2016;
- Residential construction activity saw a 7.4% increase from the previous year; and
- Construction activity is expected to enjoy a 3.4% increase in 2017, due in large part to growth in output of commercial and residential construction.
Taking this positive news and encouraging projections into account, sideline spectators might pose the question: Who are these construction firms forming the engine that’s driving the French infrastructural rebound? Great question, sideline spectator; I’m glad you asked. You see, we were wondering the same thing. Naturally, then, we did a bit of digging.
Compiling a list of Europe’s major construction players, for starters, and sifting through that list as a means of extracting just the companies from France, we ended up with a preliminary shortlist of l’ile’s most prominent building businesses. From there, we utilized four diagnostic metrics–revenue, net income, employee count, and market capitalization– which we believe to be indicative of company size, to pare the list down even further to the crème de la crème of contractors and construction firms. Each company was ranked in each category, with the scores from all categories aggregated. The higher a company was ranked in any respective category, the lower their aggregate scores would be. Those firms with the lowest overall scores were the ones that made the final cut among the top 7 construction companies in France. Check out our list of France’s usual suspects in bridge building, path paving, compound construction, and road renovation, and when you’re done with that, have a gander at the Biggest Construction Companies in Europe to see where these French firms fall in the grand scheme of things.
7. Altrad Group
Revenue: 860.8 million euro ~ 941.11 million USD;
Net Income: 71.8 million euro ~ 78.5 million USD;
Market Cap: privately held
As far as construction companies on this list go, the Altrad Group may be the biggest outlier of them all. Founded by Mohed Altrad, for whom the company is named, the firm offers a melange of products and services, which all tie into construction. On the products side, the firm offers mixers, wheelbarrows, compaction, cutting, scaffolding, formwork, concrete work, as well as an array of other construction essentials. On the other end of the spectrum, the group’s services include logistics, financing, for-hire contractors, and purchasing. In a sense, you can think of the Altrad Group as more of a behind-the-scenes construction firm. They’re still large enough to be mentioned among the other major players that you’ll encounter in France’s construction sector, but they don’t necessarily build the major works with which you might associate some of the other firms on this list of top 7 construction companies in France.
6. Leon Grosse
Revenue: 720 million euro ~ 787 million USD;
Net Income: 10 million euro ~11 million USD;
Market Cap: 191.52 million euro ~ 209.39 million USD
Founded in Aix-Les-Bains by the company’s namesake in 1881, Entreprise Generale Leon Grosse SA is a family-owned construction and civil engineering firm that acts as a major player in France’s construction industry. The company’s primary involvements include the development of universities and other educational institutions, parking lots, administrative buildings, office buildings, hospitals, shopping centers, homes and much more. What’s more, Leon Grosse has dabbled in renovation and assembly work as well as the construction of purification plants as well as industrial and hydroelectric units. If you’re at all familiar with major French architectural works, you may recognize Leon Grosse from such projects as the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris, the tower of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the S4 Satellite at Charles de Gaulle Airport, or the TGV station at Lyon St. Exupery Airport.
Revenue: 5.16 billion euro ~ 5.64 billion USD;
Net Income: 202.5 million euro ~ 221.39 million USD ;
Market Cap: 3.84 billion euro ~ 4.2 billion USD
At 5th spot on our list of top 7 construction companies in France is SPIE Batignolles that is a bit unconventional in comparison to other French construction companies in that it takes something of a more hands-off role in its work. Known largely for the multi-technical services that it provides in the communications and energy sectors, SPIE works with customers to blueprint, construct, operate, and perform upkeep on buildings domestically and internationally, which tend to be environmentally-friendly as a product of their energy-efficiency. Developmental efforts are centered around Information and Communications Technology Services, Technical Facility Management, and Mechanical and Electrical Services, with the firm playing a major role in a number of industries, including pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, energy, and many more. Among SPIE’s many famous works are the Pegasus Bridge, Terminal 2F at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, the Ponte de Normandie, and the Channel Tunnel.
4. Colas Group
Revenue: 11.01 billion euro ~ 12 billion USD;
Net Income: 355 million euro 388 USD;
Market Cap: 5.18 billion euro ~ 5.66 billion USD
Specializing in the maintenance and construction of road, air, rail track, sea transportation infrastructure, Colas Group, the number four on our list of top 7 construction companies in France is a major French construction conglomerate composed of two slightly smaller construction and infrastructure firms: Screg, and Sacer. Major activities undertaken by the construction firms that fall under the Colas Group umbrella involve the upkeep of airport runways, ports, highways, bus and tramways, bicycle paths, and much more. More specifically, the group’s largest revenue stream (68%) comes from road work, wherein they take on over 60,000 road projects a year, including the widening of the A63 highway in southwest France, and construction of the L2 bypass in Marseille. In addition to this, Colas also produces and recycles materials used for construction, such as concrete, asphalt, and a variety of other aggregates. Rounding out their activities, Colas group–as would be expected of a construction company–deals heavily in the development and refurbishing of buildings both domestically and internationally.
Revenue: 14.31 billion euro ~ 15.18 billion USD
Net Income: 475 million euro ~ 503.83 million USD
Market Cap: 7.24 billion euro ~ 7.68 billion USD
Founded in 1993, Eiffage, the next one on the list of top 7 construction companies in France is a relative newcomer among French construction companies, with operations domestically and internationally in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Italy. The company has had and continues to have an immense impact on architecture throughout all of France. Business endeavors include public works, civil engineering, road construction and property development, each of which have figured prominently in Eiffage’s major projects. Included among these works are the Channel Tunnel, the Copenhagen Metro, the Millau Viaduct, and the LGV Perpignan-Figueres high-speed railway running from France to Spain.
Revenue: 31.77 billion euros ~ 33.7 billion USD
Net Income: 732 million euros ~ 776.4 million USD
Market Cap: 13.63 billion euros ~ 14.46 billion USD
Founded in 1952, this Paris-based construction conglomerate that ranks second on our list of top 7 construction companies in France specializes in property development of residential, corporate, and commercial properties, public works and facilities maintenance, and urban infrastructure and transport maintenance. Equally as impressive as its formidable global presence is Bouygues’ list of notable construction projects carried out throughout Europe. These include the Parc des Princes in Paris, the Tour First, the Musée d’Orsay, the Grande Arche, the Stade de France, and the Île de Ré bridge.
Revenue: 38.55 billion ~ 40.89 billion USD
Net Income: 2.48 billion ~ 2.63 billion USD
Market Cap: 43.98 billion ~ 46.65 billion USD
In 47 BC, Julius Caesar addressed a letter to the Roman senate in which he penned the famous words “Veni, Vidi, Vici: I came, I saw, I conquered.” Though the spelling is a bit off, Vinci has done quite a bit of conquering themselves within the French construction industry. From the metrics alone, Vinci SA, a company founded in 1899 stands out far and away as the leader of the pack among France’s top construction companies. Beyond its size, however, Vinci’s sheer presence around the world in all things construction is something to marvel at. The company’s operations include designing, building and financing systems of public transportation, development of urban infrastructure, and ongoing upkeep of roads, bridges, buildings, and any other infrastructural elements you might be able to conceive of. Among other works, Vinci has been made famous for projects such as the new entrance to the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Tour Montparnasse, and the Pont de Normandie. With over 100 years of history and exponentially more examples of successfully-completed construction works, it’s little wonder how Vinci has conquered and maintained a vice grip on construction in France.
That being said, these were the top 7 construction companies in France.