Subdued domestic demand and low exports, limited credit growth due to high non-performing loan ratios, market volatility and political uncertainty continued to curb the financial performance of the companies in Southeast Europe (SEE) in 2014. Overdue structural reforms weigh on the economies in the region, which failed to benefit fully from cheaper oil and the recovery of the euro area to offset the downward pressure of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
2014 was a limited success year for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Southeast Europe (SEE), but an analysis of deals already announced in 2015 indicates an improving outlook. In the past couple of years, the M&A activity in most SEE countries suffered to differing degrees from slower economic growth, the small size of the national consumer markets and political instability. Nevertheless, local specifics rather than common features tended to determine the main drivers of M&A in each country.
Most of the lenders in the SEE TOP 100 banks ranking closed 2014 in the black and the overall result of the sector would have been slightly positive if it hadn’t been for bankrupt Bulgarian lender Corporate Commercial Bank, Corpbank, which booked a staggering loss of 2.18 billion euro.
This survey monitors sentiment towards the events in Greece in the light of the referendum on accepting or rejecting the agreement with the country’s creditors. Social media comments, blog posts, forum discussions, and comments in news media outlets were analysed to outline public attitudes in eight countries in Southeast Europe (SEE).
The Sofia office market has reached the tipping point from which investment and development offer a sizable opportunity. The retail market, in particular in Sofia and other big cities, is relatively saturated. The industrial real estate market in Bulgaria offers a large field for new project development while the opportunities for investment remain limited.
LAUNCHub is a 9.0 million euro seed fund, based in Bulgaria, investing in the most promising startups in Southeast Europe (SEE). Since 2012, LAUNCHub has invested over 3.5 million euro in 47 portfolio companies. Over 140 founders have joined the big family and in less than two years have managed to attract a further 3.5 million euro-plus of follow-on funding. As of September 2014, LAUNCHub’s portfolio includes companies from nine countries in SEE – Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece, Ukraine, Austria and Switzerland.
The slow recovery in the European Union, Southeast Europe’s (SEE) main trading partner, the sluggish prospects facing nearly all economies in the region and shrunken domestic demand all left their mark on corporate bottomlines in 2013. At the same time, long overdue structural reforms, fiscal and regulatory volatility and poor infrastructure continued to be a drag on local businesses. Against this backdrop, the performance of the companies in the SEE TOP 100 ranking was expectedly lackluster – their combined revenues in 2013 were flattish, with nearly half of the entrants seeing a decline in their revenues.
The market capitalisation of the entrants in the 2013 edition of the SEE TOP 100 listed companies ranking totaled 44.7 billion euro, compared to 39 billion euro for the firms that made the 2012 list. Most entrants in the ranking – 65, saw their market capitalisation rise, with 30 posting a decline.