"They could see opportunities, and also they were on the defensive because Spain was now up for grabs – people could move, companies were able to invest much more easily in Spain," he added.
Today, these companies are winning contracts across the globe. According to a 2014 report by Spain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation, Spanish companies had, "a portfolio of international projects that tops €74 billion ($83.6 billion)."
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The breadth and reach of Spanish companies in projects around the globe is considerable. Ferrovial, for instance, is working on the Crossrail project in London, and an upgrade of almost 20 kilometers of the Pacific Highway in Australia. OHL Group, via Czech subsidiary OHL ŽS, is undertaking the €1.5 billion Ural Project, which will see a 390km rail line built between Obskaja and Nadym in Russia.
Chislett said that companies who might ordinarily have suffered and collapsed as a result of Spain's recent economic woes were protected, in part, because of their continued success abroad.
"Those companies… haven't had to lay off people, haven't folded," he said, before adding that, "Lots of small construction sectors in Spain have collapsed, but the big boys, ACS, Abertis, Sacyr, OHL… they've gone from strength to strength."
Does the success of these companies abroad have any impact on the Spanish economy at home, though?
"It hasn't created that many jobs in Spain, (but) obviously it has created some, because Spaniards are often contracted and sent to abroad to work on these projects," Chislett said.
What the success of these companies has given Spain is prestige and a sense of pride during one of the country's toughest periods in recent memory.
"It's part of the Spain brand," Chislett said. "It's a country now that can say, 'we're not just a country that produces oranges, and bullfights," he added.
The contracts look set to keep coming. At the beginning of June, Madrid based ACS Group announced that it was part of a consortium awarded the contract for the construction of Toronto's Eglinton Crosstown light metro line.
"As long as the projects are out there they will go on bidding for them," Chislett said. "What share of the business they get, who knows, (it) depends on what conditions they present, but… it's certainly not a sector that looks like dying tomorrow."