By Dragana Petrushevska
Companies from the electricity, oil and gas sectors topped the 2021 ranking of the most profitable companies in SEE, extending a trend that had started a year earlier. At the same time, however, energy price volatility led to major losses for some sector players.
Romanian state-owned hydropower producer Hidroelectrica cemented its position as the most profitable company in SEE, boosting its return on revenue to 45% in 2021 from 37% in 2020. Hidroelectrica’s stellar 2021 results followed an increase in its electricity sales, which reached 17.11 TWH, up 7% on the year. In 2021, Hidroelectrica made headway with its IPO plans. Romanian investment fund Fondul Proprietatea intends to float up to 19.94% interest in the company in the first half of 2023.
Bulgaria’s AETs Kozloduy, the country’s only nuclear power plant and its biggest electricity producer, claimed the second position in the ranking after coming in third a year earlier. The company’s return on revenue increased to 33% in 2021 from 22% in the prior year, supported by a sharp rise in electricity prices in the second half of the year.
Romanian natural gas producer Romgaz was the region’s third most profitable company in 2021, dropping one spot within a year. The company slightly increased its return on revenue – to 31% in 2021 from 30% in 2020. In 2021, Romgaz produced 5.029 billion cu m of natural gas, up 11% on the year, whereas its electricity production fell 32% to 640 GWh.
Romanian energy company Complexul Energetic Oltenia led the money losers chart, widening its net loss to 309.6 million euro in 2021 from 192.9 million euro in 2020. The company, Romania’s third largest electricity producer, has been undergoing a government-backed restructuring process after facing financial difficulties. Serbia’s state-owned power utility JP Elektroprivreda Srbije was second on the list after swinging to a net loss of 127.1 million euro in 2021 from a net profit of 101.1 million euro a year earlier, mostly due to changes in currency rates.
The top three losers ranking was closed by another electricity company, Romania’s Electrica Furnizare. It booked a net loss of 94.1 million euro in 2021, after generating a net profit of 47.9 million euro in 2020, as a result of higher costs.
The biggest earners list included four new entrants, two of which are based in Serbia, one in Bulgaria and one in Romania. Romania was best represented with four entrants. Serbia followed with three companies, whereas Bulgaria and Slovenia had two and one entrant, respectively.
Romania also dominated the money losers chart, as nine out of ten companies which booked the greatest losses in 2021 are based in that country. The only other company in the ranking is based in Serbia.