Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s Moscow-based Basic Element Group has acquired 17% of Austria’s Strabag SE, Vienna, which is ranked third on ENR’s list of the Top International Contractors. The $490-million acquisition was made through Basic Element’s Rasperia Trading Ltd.

The acquisition follows Strabag’s announcement last month of its planned expansion in Russia by buying 26% of Basic Element’s Moscow-based road construction company, Transstroy, for $92 million. Transstroy reported $1.2 billion in sales last year.

“By 2020, Russia could be one of the three largest markets for Strabag,” says Hans Peter Haselsteiner, the company’s CEO. The company reported $17 billion in sales last year from work across Europe and the Middle East.

Basic Element Group has interests in the energy, manufacturing, construction, financial and aviation sectors. The group’s Rasperia unit controlled 9.99% of Germany’s largest contractor, Hochtief A.G., Essen, until October 2008.