HIP Petrohemija outshines Hidroelectrica in profitability chart

by Mario Tanev

Two new entrants in this edition of SEE TOP 100 lead the rankings of the
most profitable companies and the biggest money losers in 2017, a year marked by the financial woes of ailing Croatian concern Agrokor.

State-owned entities occupy the top three spots in the most profitable company ranking, which is heavily dominated by Romania and Serbia, posting five and four members, respectively.

Serbian state-run petrochemicals producer HIP Petrohemija outpaced money makers with a return on revenue of 53.83% in 2017, on the back of a massive debt-to-equity swap, which resulted in a nearly fivefold increase in its registered capital.

HIP Petrohemija took the 77th place in the overall TOP 100 ranking after it more than doubled its revenue to 636.3 million euro in 2017, turning to a net profit of 342.5 million euro from a net loss of 42.7 million euro in 2016. It outmatched the previous edition’s top moneymaker – Romania’s Hidroelectrica, despite the hydro power producer’s
improved profitability.  For its part, Hidroelectrica showed remarkable cost-efficiency, boosting its net profit by 8% despite a 2% drop in revenue. Hidroelectrica posted a return on revenue of 40.93% in 2017, up from 36.15% the year before, following a large-scale restructuring process.

Romanian natural gas producer Romgaz rounded up the top three, after boosting its net profit by 76% on the back of a 25% rise in revenue. The achieved revenue return of 37.06% would have been enough to give Romgaz the first place among the money makers in 2016, which serves to emphasize the overall increased profitability of SEE TOP 100 ranking members in 2017. At the other end of the scale, units of troubled Croatian giant Agrokor took the first three places in the money losers ranking.

The wholesale/retail sector dominates the 2017 edition of the money losers ranking, with five members. Interestingly enough, there were only seven SEE TOP 100 companies, which recorded a net loss in 2017.

Croatian retailer Konzum posted the highest net loss among all, of 525.2 million euro, or nearly twice as much as in 2016. The retailer, which made its debut in this edition of the SEE TOP 100, closed dozens of stores in 2017, saying they were unprofitable for a long time and likely to continue being so.

Slovenia’s Poslovni Sistem Mercator and Serbia’s Mercator-S ranked second and third, respectively.

Poslovni Sistem Mercator expanded its net loss to 203.7 million euro in 2017 from 77.4 million euro the year before, while Mercator-S quadrupled its losses to 58 million euro. However, it must be noted, a significant part of the two companies’ net loss in 2017 came from re-valuation of property, rather than from regular operations.

Fourth-ranked ArcelorMittal Galati was the only member of the money losers ranking which improved its financial performance.


Most profitable companies is a ranking of the top 10 companies with the highest return on revenue in SEE TOP 100. Return on revenue is calculated as net profit divided by total revenue, both in euro terms. Money losers is a ranking of 10 companies with the most significant losses in SEE TOP 100. To allow comparison, all local currencies have been converted into euro, using the central banks’ official exchange rates on the last working day of 2017 and 2016, respectively.

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