By Annie Tsoneva
The energy sector completely took over the ranking of the fastest growing companies in Southeastern Europe (SEE) last year as the global energy crisis triggered by the Russia-Ukraine war propelled electricity and gas prices to record highs.
The most dynamic companies in SEE by revenue in 2022 were seven energy traders, a thermal power plant, an oil refiner and a biodiesel producer.
In comparison, a year earlier the ranking also included transportation, wholesale companies, and a steel producer.
Seven of the ten most dynamic companies in SEE in 2022 are foreign-owned, as two of the parent companies are Swissbased sector majors. MET Group, one of the leading commodity traders in central and eastern Europe, is represented in the SEE TOP 100 ranking with three units, two of which are among the most dynamic companies. Axpo, Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy and an international leader in energy trading and the marketing of solar and wind power, has one representative in the ranking – Axpo Bulgaria. All units of the two Swiss groups are entering the SEE TOP 100 ranking for the first time.
MET Croatia Energy Trade was the fastest growing company in SEE last year as its revenue soared almost eightfold to 1.280 billion euro from 162.7 million euro in 2021. It was set up in 2013 as a fully-owned subsidiary of MET Group to participate in Croatia’s freshly liberalised energy market. MET Croatia offers a wide range of services to all natural gas customers of the de-regulated market. It took the 72nd spot in the overall top 100 ranking of the largest companies in the region.
Axpo Bulgaria was the second most dynamic company in 2022 as its revenue rose sixfold to 3.078 billion euro. The company is a wholesale trading hub for 15 markets in Central and Eastern Europe, managing over 30 power and gas trading licences and serving more than 150 clients. In November 2022, the company received a licence to use the Greece-Bulgaria natural gas interconnector allowing it to take part in future capacity auctions.
Another member of the MET Group, MET Energy Trading Bulgaria, was the third fastest growing company as its revenue went up to 1.9 billion euro from 373 million euro. MET Energy Trading Bulgaria, established in 2017, focuses on the purchase and sale of electricity and natural gas to retail and wholesale customers in SEE through cross-border transactions and in close cooperation with other MET subsidiaries in the region.
Natural gas trader Engie Energy Management Romania, a subsidiary of France’s Engie, took the fourth position in the ranking of the most dynamic SEE companies with a 323% surge in revenue, to 1.633 billion euro last year.
MVM CEEnergy Croatia, a unit of the largest energy holding company in Hungary, MVM, set up to use the LNG terminal on the Adriatic island of Krk, ranked fifth. The company is another new entrant in SEE TOP 100.
Bulgarian state-owned thermal power plant Maritsa East 2 followed in the sixth place as its revenue almost tripled to more than 2 billion euro from 686 million in 2021.
The only Serbian company in the ranking was natural gas distributor and transportation company YugoRosGaz, a subsidiary of Russia’s Gazprom. It took the seventh place on the back of 153% annual growth in revenue, to 1.073 billion euro.
State-owned gas supplier Bulgargaz ranked eighth as its revenue rose 130% on the year, to 2.5 billion euro.
Bulgarian vegetable oils and biodiesel fuel producer Astra Bioplant recorded the region’s ninth highest revenue growth rate last year, of some 130% to 3.9 billion euro, on the back of a strong rise in sales. Astra Bioplant, which launched operations in 2009, expanded its production facilities to include plants with a combined annual capacity of some 360,000 tonnes of biodiesel. The business also makes distilled pharmaceutical-grade glycerin, rapeseed oils, acid oils and forages, and technical oils – feedstock for advanced biofuels, or biofuels with non-feed or food origin. It is part of energy products supply group Bulmarket.
North Macedonia’s oil refinery Okta took the tenth position among the fastest growing companies in the region after its revenue rose 129% to 976 million euro in 2022. Okta, a member of the Hellenic Petroleum Group, owns crude oil refining facilities with a nameplate capacity of 2.5 million metric tonnes and storage facilities with a total capacity of 350 million litres.