After several tough years, economic activity in Southeast Europe (SEE) picked up in 2015 and continued to strengthen in 2016, supporting an improving performance of the region’s corporate sector.
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.
Despite serious concerns at the beginning of the crisis, most of Western and Eastern Europe have weathered the impact of the Russia- Ukraine crisis relatively well so far, as the growth momentum in the Eurozone turned out stronger than the downward pressures from the crisis, caused by recessions in Russia and Ukraine and the sanctions/countersanctions.
Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), a member of Erste Group since 2006, is Romania’s largest financial group. Besides universal banking operations, including retail, corporate and investment banking, treasury and capital markets, the group also provides leasing and asset management services, among others. BCR’s network includes more than 560 retail units, over 2,100 ATMs and 13,500 POS terminals.
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 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) raised its investments in Southeast Europe, a region that has remained particularly vulnerable to the effects of problems in the eurozone, to around 1.65 billion euro in 2013 from 1.5 billion euro in 2012. In 2013, EBRD investments remained strong in Turkey, totalling around 920 million euro. In the Western Balkans and Croatia, the EBRD invested a record 1.2 billion euro in more than 80 projects in 2013.
IBM Southeast Europe covers 11 countries. IBM has been investing in SEE countries since 1936. Through its network of business partners, IBM’s advanced technologies and know-how support the most important economic processes and industries in SEE, such as banking, privatisation, government, manufactoring, telecommunication and distribution, to name just a few.
When insurance companies in Southeast Europe toasted the arrival of 2011, the general mood was one of caution for the immediate future and belief in the industry’s longer-term prospects.
SEE insurers had just left behind a rather difficult 2010 – a year through which the effects of the financial crisis and the ensuing recession were still keenly felt.
While being monitored regularly by central banks within wider reviews on the financial system health, credit quality issues usually take centre stage in times of crisis, bringing along more rigorous measures to contain the damage and pre-empt future adversity and stress.