French giants Vinci and Bouygues are Europe's biggest contractors for the second year running, according to the the annual survey of Europe's biggest contractors and materials suppliers, compiled by Building and Le Moniteur

The duo pulled away from their nearest rival, Skanska, after the Swedish company's turnover decreased 9% to £9.1bn. Vinci was top with a turnover of £13.3bn and Bouygues second with £11.5bn.

Philippe Ratynski, chairman of Vinci Construction, said the company was aiming to grow in 2006 by pursuing work in France's emerging PPP market.

In the UK, Ratynski said that Vinci was unlikely to buy an expensive major contractor, but added that it might look at regional firms. He added that his principal contract target in the UK was the £10bn Crossrail scheme.

Ratynski hinted at possible growth in Europe: "The outlook is very positive in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, positive for Belgium and France, and neutral for the UK and Germany."

Spain's major success story, ACS, was fifth in the league table. Its turnover grew 1.7% to £7.5bn. Spanish analysts believe that the company could now look to the UK for companies with expertise in PPP, waste management and road maintenance. To justify an acquisition, however, ACS would be looking for a contractor valued at between £600m and £1bn.

British contractors fared well, with four in the top 20 compared with three last year. Top dog was Amec with £4.8bn turnover, although it is unlikely to feature so highly next year, as it may break up its business.

In the materials league, UK giant Wolseley finally broke the domination of French duo Saint-Gobain and Lafarge, by ousting the latter from the number two spot.