Pharma keeps lead in most profitable industries ranking

By Radomir Ralev

The pharmaceutical sector in Southeast Europe, represented by three companies in the SEE TOP 100 ranking, was among the few that fared well amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It kept its comfortable lead of the ranking, increasing its return on revenue to 15.42% from 15.25% in 2019.

The top performer among the drug makers, Slovenia’s Krka, ranked fifth in terms of profit in the region. The company ranked 26th in the SEE TOP 100 ranking revenue, gaining five spots, as it maintained business operations and supplies of medicines uninterrupted.

The glass products industry had only one representative in the SEE TOP 100 ranking, BA Glass Bulgaria, but it took the second place with a 6.95% return on revenue. The company, which was acquired by Portugal’s BA Vidro from Greek glass-maker Yioula in 2017, gained 49 spots to the 48th place in the SEE TOP 100 ranking. Earlier in 2021, BA Glass Group said it will invest almost 60 million euro in upgrading its plant in Sofia to build a new glass packaging furnace at the plant, streamline production processes and raise output. The investment is part of the company’s strategy announced in 2017 to invest over 200 million euro in its Bulgarian plants, aiming to double their production capacity, boost efficiency, and improve the quality of its products.

The rubber and rubber product makers in Southeast Europe again took the third position, recording a 6.20% year-on-year rise in return on revenue to 1.482 billion euro and a lower net profit of 91.9 million euro versus 100.5 million euro in the previous year. This year, the rubber industry had two representatives, both tyre makers – Serbia’s Tigar Tyres and Michelin Romania, which dropped in the ranking due to a decline in revenues.

The telecommunications and electricity industries ousted the chemicals and food industries from the fourth and fifth spot of the ranking, respectively. Both telecommunications and electricity sectors recorded rises in return on revenue and net profit. The telecommunications sector entered the top ten in terms of return on revenue and had seven entrants in the SEE TOP 100 ranking this year, as Vodafone Romania and Telekom Romania Telecommunications saw a double-digit increase in
their revenue.

The electricity industry had seven representatives. As much as three electricity companies joined the SEE TOP 100 ranking this year, with the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange occupying the 75th spot following an impressive 62.7% jump in revenue. The other two entrants were Romania’s Enel Energie and Enel Energie Muntenia.

The chemicals industry dropped out of the top five in the industrial ranking, losing two positions to the sixth place. The sector’s only representative in the top 100 ranking, North Macedonia’s Johnson Matthey, saw its revenue return edge down to 3.93% from 4.05% in 2019.

The return on revenue of the food sector went down to 2.62% and the industry fell to the ninth spot in the ranking.

The wholesale and retail industry dominated the Top 100 SEE 2020 ranking, as the number of its representatives rose to 26 from 25, thanks to the entry of Croatia’s Plodine. The combined revenue of the wholesale and retail firms grew 10.83% in 2020.


The SEE industrial ranking pools together the revenue generated by all companies in SEE TOP 100 and ranks sectors by cumulative revenue. Year-on-year changes in the sectors’ total revenue have been calculated using the figures in euro. The comparative figures for 2019 are revised to allow a fair comparison. The sub-ranking of the industries with the highest return on revenue was calculated by dividing the cumulative net profit/loss within each industry by the cumulative revenue. We have based our rankings on an industry classification which treats filling station operators and gas trading/distribution companies as Petroleum/Natural Gas companies, pharmacies and pharmaceutical distributors as Wholesale/Retail, and automotive and car parts manufacturers, and sellers as Automobiles.

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