At 11 billion euros, the backlog of the country’s five large construction groups in 2022, also known as the BIG 5, has shot up, confirming the predictions that want this amount to be able, under conditions, to reach even 15 billion euros in 2024. This amount confirms the great rise of the country’s construction sector, as if we take into account that in 2021 the backlog was at 9.38 billion euros, it is understood that an additional 1.62 billion euros were added to uncompleted projects.

Essentially, the projects that were added are more than the above amount. We should clarify that “backlog” is that amount that is calculated from the signed contracts of the Groups and concerns the remaining works. For example, if a signed project of 100 million euros has reached 70% of completed and paid work, then its backlog is 30 million euros.

The same applies if the participation of a Group in a project is not 100% but with a certain percentage. The backlog means that amount from the rest of the projects according to the percentage with which it participates. We should also put on the table the large sums for projects coming from the Recovery Fund which is now entering its mature phase with several projects close to implementation.

How the 2022 backlog was formed

For 2022, the announcement of the results by the major Groups started at the end of January and ended last week, when GEK TERNA and INTRAKAT announced results for the whole year.

According to the published data, the GEK TERNA Group has backlog of  2.9 billion euros, the ELLAKTOR Group with 2.9 billion euros, the AVAX Group with 2.22 billion euros, Mytilineos with 1.66 billion euros and the INTRAKAT Group with 1.32 billion euros. If we add the above amounts, then the total sum amounts to 11 billion euros.

The 11 billion euros is a historical record for all major companies with a 7th grade degree. Even more important than the backlog are the prospects that have opened up in the field of projects for the 5 big Groups. According to the various projects (public, concessions, PPP, private, outside Greece) which are currently in the tender process, in 2024 it may reach or even exceed 15 billion euros.

It does not include the 4 billion euro rail projects that are underway, the major building projects that will start in Elliniko. Finally, it does not include the big battles that will be fought for the new concession period of Attica Road, the concession of VOAK.

At the same time, we also have more than 25 PPP projects that are in the tender process, such as the PPPs for student residences in Crete, Thrace, Thessaly, for the building of the GC Infrastructure, for the 13 Regional Centers, the Havria Dam, Athens innovation District (Politeia Kainotomias), the 17 schools in Central Macedonia etc.

Where are the big construction groups today?

More specifically, the GEK TERNA Group has announced that the Group’s backlog with the contracts that are expected to be signed (Egnatia, Hellinikon Casino, L. Kymis, etc.) jumps to 5.3 billion euros, which is a historical record for any construction company of the country.

In 2022, together with Mytileneos, it undertook the Kiato-Aigio and Aigio-Rio railway projects for a total amount of 260 million euros. In 2023, it also signed for the large PPP project of the middle part of VOAK, Hersonissos-Neapoli as the leader of the consortium with AKTOR CONCESSIONS and INTRAKAT.

It also participates in almost all the large PPP projects that are in the air at the moment while it claims the concession of VOAK, the new contract for Attiki Odos, it is expected to claim the extension of the Metro to Ilion etc.

INTRAKAT Group, which has emerged as the second strongest pole with the acquisition of AKTOR, reaches a combined total of 4.2 billion euros and has already signed several new projects in the first four months, including its participation in two major road PPPs for the part of VOAK, Hersonissos-Neapoli and the Kalamata-Pylos-Methoni axis, while the Riviera Tower in Elliniko is also getting started.

In 2023, it has already underbid a series of large projects, the most important of which are those for the student residences in Crete and the new building of G.S. Infrastructure in Piraeus. Depending on time (that is, if it becomes possible to sign other projects that it has underbid) INTRAKAT could reach 5 billion euros this year.

AVAX Group also had a great year with 2.9 billion euros and it looks like it can rise further as it claims the concession of VOAK and is expected to go after the extension of the Metro to Ilion as well as smaller projects.

In 2022, among the flagship projects, it signed with Mytilineos for the Flyover of Regional Thessaloniki and the Paleopharsalos-Kalambaka railway project.

MYTILINEOS Group after the separation of the branches of projects and concessions-PPP, is also estimated to climb high as already from the announced results from the contracts that are still expected the amount climbs to 2.95 billion euros. It has already signed for the Halkida bypass, projects in the United Kingdom, Triasio I, investment in Australia, etc. Let’s remember that he has contracted with Rover Maritime in the project of the 6th pier of OLTH.

In 2022 together with TERNA it undertook the two railway projects Kiato-Aigio and Aigio-Rio and together with AVAX the flyover of Regional Thessaloniki.

The ELLAKTOR Group, after the departure of AKTOR, changes its appearance. It focuses on large concession projects through AKTOR Concessions, on real estate investments through REDS and on environmental projects through Elektor. In 2023, the major investments for Marina Alimos, Gournes (the so-called Little Elliniko) will proceed, it also claims VOAK (Chania-Hersonissos) and participates in several PPP projects.

The big challenges

What is widely discussed in the construction industry is how this gigantic backlog will be able to be materialized. The challenges are many and important. One of the biggest issues that concerns the industry is the lack of staff at all levels that is already being observed, let alone when all the above projects will need to run almost in parallel.

An equally important challenge is the course of the global upheaval in the availability and pricing of many building and electromechanical materials and fuels moving at a high level. Material shortages and the energy crisis appear to have abated significantly but remain a significant issue, particularly in projects with tight schedules.

Bank financing is also considered a problem as there are many reports of access difficulties in the construction industry. One of the most serious issues is the issuing of letters of guarantee and of course the financing of projects, although progress has been made.


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