By Annie Tsoneva
Riding the wave of surging food prices, Romanian transportation and wholesale company ADM Romania Trading, a newcomer in SEE TOP 100, was the fastest growing company in the 2021 ranking.
Due to global harvest issues, food commodity prices were already at a ten-year high even before the war in Ukraine started, according to the United Nations Food Prices Index. For ADM Romania Trading, this meant an almost 19 times (1,766%) increase in its revenue last year, to 809.7 million euro.
ADM Romania Trading is a subsidiary of a Dutch food company Archer Daniels Midland Europe B.V., which in turn is part of US-based global grain trader Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company. It is one of the largest port operators in Romania, handling barley, rapeseed, wheat, sunflower seed and maize, as well as other commodities such as coal and iron ore, along the Danube and across the Black Sea.
ADM has been investing in storage and logistics capacities in its Danube River network since In 2015, it acquired full ownership of two Romanian export terminals on the Black Sea, bolstering its ability to export grain from Eastern Europe. In 2021, it was the second largest grains importer and the sixth largest grains exporter in Romania, data from the statistics office showed. In September, 2022, ADM announced the opening of a new extrusion facility in Romania’s neighbour Serbia to meet rising demand and further expand its footprint in Europe.
The Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) ranked second among the most dynamic SEE companies in 2021, slipping one place within a year. Its revenue rose more than four times to 3.031 billion euro as both prices and the amounts of electricity traded on its day-ahead market reached record highs at the end of December. IBEX is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, which acquired the company in 2017. Since May 2021, the Bulgarian day-ahead market has been integrated via Greece with the Pan-European day-ahead power market. Five months later, Bulgaria and Romania successfully completed the coupling of their day-ahead power markets.
At no.3, Bulgarian public gas supplier Bulgargaz saw its revenue triple in 2021 as natural gas sales rose 37% due to increased industrial consumption.
Slovenian carbon emissions trader Belektron too tripled its revenue last year. Belektron, which has been on the market since 2008, has grown to be a major global sector player even though it is not being part of any larger banking or energy group. It is a member of The Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and The European Energy Exchange (EEX), as well as an official EEX market maker on spot and derivatives markets.
Romanian wholesaler Intebrands Orbico ranked fifth on the back of 168% growth in revenue last year. It is part of Croatian privately-owned consumer goods distributor Orbico Group with international operations in over 20 countries and more than 8,000 employees.
Slovenian energy company Interenergo booked 136% higher revenue in 2021. Since 2009, Interenergo has been part of Austrian renewable energy provider Kelag Group. Interenergo is a wholesale electricity trader and is active in construction and management of energy facilities powered by renewable energy sources.
Another energy company, Croatian privately-owned natural gas trader Prvo Plinarsko Drustvo (PPD), came in at the seventh position as its revenue more than doubled in 2021. PPD, which is Croatia’s largest natural gas importer, has been renting capacities at the LNG terminal on the Krk island since 2020. PPD is fully-owned by Croatian investment group ENNA and has subsidiaries in Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia and Bosnia operating across Europe.
Bulgaria’s state-owned Kozloduy nuclear power plant ranked eighth with a 113% increase in 2021 revenue, backed by higher electricity prices.
Chinese-owned HBIS Group Serbia Iron & Steel too doubled its revenue as steel demand surged globally. In August 2021 it restarted one of the two blast furnaces at the Smederevo plant that had been shut down a year earlier amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though Romania’s third-largest electricity producer Complexul Energetic Oltenia (CE Oltenia) also doubled its revenue last year, its loss widened to 310 million euro. In January 2022, the European Commission approved Romania’s plan to grant up to 2.66 billion euro in aid to state-owned CE Oltenia to enable the company to finance its restructuring plan and restore its long-term viability. The restructuring envisages replacement of lignite-based electricity production with electricity produced from natural gas, solar and hydro energy.