On the path of recovery

by Mira Karadzhova

The economic woes, however, might turn out to be the bitter pill which would help the SEE corporate world adapt faster to the ever-changing economic environment and show its recovery is firmly on track.

Growth trends

The combined revenue of the top 100 companies reached 101 billion euro in 2011, a sizeable jump from the 2010 level of 87.4 billion euro. Despite the crisis, the 100 biggest companies in the region boosted their revenues last year in a clear sign of recovery. The combined profit of the companies rose from 2.322 billion euro in 2010 to 3.006 billion euro in 2011. Thus, the firms in the ranking have returned to the revenues and profits they had before the crisis. Twenty-one companies posted inferior revenues in 2011, compared with 20 in 2010. Furthermore, the revenue threshold for SEE TOP 100 considerably increased to 441.9 million euro in 2011 from 391.8 million euro in 2010, exceeding the pre-crisis level of 405.4 million euro recorded in 2008 and showing the market had already started recovering from the crisis. Moreover, 29 firms were in the red in 2011, down from 36 a year earlier.

Breakdown of industries

Oil and gas rules the chart

The oil and gas sector rules the 2011 edition of TOP 100 once again with a total of 28 companies, up from 27 in the previous year. Traditionally, the sector dominates the chart – it has eight companies in the top 10 in 2011, versus 7 in 2010 and 6 in 2009.

The electricity sector is the second-strongest industry on the list with 18 companies, unchanged from 2010. Thirteen retailers and wholesalers made it to the top 100, down from 16 in 2010. Telecoms numbered 10, versus 13 in 2010.

Another interesting trend is the disappearance of retailers from the top 10 league. In 2011, none of the retailers made it to the list of the 10 biggest players in the region, against one present in 2010, two in 2009 and three in 2007. The trend could be explained with the fall in consumer spending in a time of crisis.

Top 100 combined results

Heavyweights dominate

Romanian oil and gas behemoth OMV Petrom, majority-owned by Austria’s OMV, has strengthened its position as the leading company in the region. It topped the SEE TOP 100 Companies ranking once again in 2011 with a total revenue of 4.102 billion euro, marking an annual jump of 14%. The Romanian heavyweight has been at the top of the chart in each of the last four years. OMV Petrom booked a record-high net profit of 853 million euro last year, up from 420 million euro in 2010, mirroring better operating performance underpinned by continuous investments and a favourable price environment.

The top three in the ranking remained unchanged for yet another year in 2011. For the fourth consecutive year the runner-up is Croatian oil and gas major INA, which managed to boost its top line by 16.5% to 3.613 billion euro. INA’s net profit jumped to 261.2 million euro from 239.3 million euro. The main reasons behind the improved financial performance were the higher operating profit and the lower financial loss.

Like in the previous years, the third spot is occupied by Bulgarian oil refinery Lukoil Neftochim. The loss-making refinery booked a 21.2% surge in its revenue to 3.446 billion. Its net loss, however, widened to 69.5 million euro in 2011 from 47.2 million a year earlier. The refinery lost its fuel trading licence in July 2011 after it missed the deadline for the installation of meters linked to the customs agency’s database. The refinery got its licence back in early-2012.

The list of the five biggest companies in SEE registered a switch in positions four and five in 2011, which in 2010 remained unchanged from the previous year. OMV Petrom Marketing makes a huge leap to number four from number 22 as the company’s revenue soared 197.5% year-on-year to 3.185 billion euro in 2011, thus marking the highest annual increase in revenue in the entire ranking.

Renault-owned Dacia slips one spot to number five in the 2011 ranking even though its revenue rose 15.7% to 3.11 billion euro.

In the 2011 ranking of SEE TOP 100 twelve newcomers entered the chart, seven of which from Romania. The highest new entrant, at number 16, is Romania’s Petrotel – Lukoil SA. The number of companies dropped from the 2011 ranking is 12, five of which from Romania.

Romania, being the biggest economy in SEE, was the country with the largest presence in the 2011 ranking with 49 entrants, up from 47 a year earlier. Serbia outranked Bulgaria as the runner-up with 14 entrants in 2011, from 11. Bulgaria followed with 13 representatives, SRLagainst 14 in 2010. Slovenia came next with 12 and Croatia with 10, versus 13 each in 2010. Unsurprisingly, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina each had a single representative in the 2011 chart, just like the previous year. None of the biggest companies in Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and Moldova made it to the 2011 TOP 100.

Top 10 of top 100

The complete ranking: SEE Top 100 Companies