Top 100 See - - Front Page - By Mira Karadzhova

The economies of South­east Europe set out on a hard and long road to re­cov­ery last year, try­ing to beat the chal­lenge of slug­gish de­mand for their ex­ports in the eu­ro­zone, their main trad­ing part­ner. Un­sur­pris­ingly, the EU mem­ber states in the re­gion fared worse than their non-EU neigh­bours due to their stronger in­te­gra­tion with the west­ern Euro­pean mar­kets. In con­trast, non-EU mem­ber states cap­i­talised on their looser links with the EU to post big­ger growth in their gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP). The eco­nomic woes, how­ever, might turn out to be the bit­ter pill which would help the SEE cor­po­rate world adapt faster to the ev­er­chang­ing eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment and show its re­cov­ery is firmly on track.

Growth trends

The com­bined rev­enue of the top 100 com­pa­nies reached 101 bil­lion euro in 2011, a size­able jump from the 2010 level of 87.4 bil­lion euro. De­spite the cri­sis, the 100 big­gest com­pa­nies in the re­gion boosted their rev­enues last year in a clear sign of re­cov­ery. The com­bined profit of the com­pa­nies rose from 2.322 bil­lion euro in 2010 to 3.006 bil­lion euro in 2011. Thus, the firms in the rank­ing have re­turned to the rev­enues and prof­its they had be­fore the cri­sis. Twenty-one com­pa­nies posted in­fe­rior rev­enues in 2011, com­pared with 20 in 2010. Fur­ther­more, the rev­enue thresh­old for SEE TOP 100 con­sid­er­ably in­creased to 441.9 mil­lion euro in 2011 from 391.8 mil­lion euro in 2010, ex­ceed­ing the pre-cri­sis level of 405.4 mil­lion euro recorded in 2008 and show­ing the mar­ket had al­ready started re­cov­er­ing from the cri­sis. More­over, 29 firms were in the red in 2011, down from 36 a year ear­lier.

Break­down of in­dus­tries in SEE TOP 100 in 2011

Oil and gas rules the chart

The oil and gas sec­tor rules the 2011 edi­tion of TOP 100 once again with a to­tal of 28 com­pa­nies, up from 27 in the pre­vi­ous year. Tra­di­tion­ally, the sec­tor dom­i­nates the chart – it has eight com­pa­nies in the top 10 in 2011, ver­sus 7 in 2010 and 6 in 2009.

The elec­tric­ity sec­tor is the sec­ond-strong­est in­dus­try on the list with 18 com­pa­nies, un­changed from 2010. Thir­teen re­tail­ers and whole­salers made it to the top 100, down from 16 in 2010. Tele­coms num­bered 10, ver­sus 13 in 2010.

Another in­ter­est­ing trend is the dis­ap­pear­ance of re­tail­ers from the top 10 league. In 2011, none of the re­tail­ers made it to the list of the 10 big­gest play­ers in the re­gion, against one present in 2010, two in 2009 and three in 2007. The trend could be ex­plained with the fall in con­sumer spend­ing in a time of cri­sis.

Heavy­weights dom­i­nate

Ro­ma­nian oil and gas be­he­moth OMV Petrom, ma­jor­ity-owned by Aus­tria's OMV, has strength­ened its po­si­tion as the lead­ing com­pany in the re­gion. It topped the SEE TOP 100 Com­pa­nies rank­ing once again in 2011 with a to­tal rev­enue of 4.102 bil­lion euro, mark­ing an an­nual jump of 14%. The Ro­ma­nian heavy­weight has been at the top of the chart in each of the last four years. OMV Petrom booked a record-high net profit of 853 mil­lion euro last year, up from 420 mil­lion euro in 2010, mir­ror­ing bet­ter op­er­at­ing per­for­mance un­der­pinned by con­tin­u­ous in­vest­ments and a favourable price en­vi­ron­ment.

The top three in the rank­ing re­mained un­changed for yet another year in 2011. For the fourth con­sec­u­tive year the run­ner-up is Croa­t­ian oil and gas ma­jor INA, which man­aged to boost its top line by 16.5% to 3.613 bil­lion euro. INA's net profit jumped to 261.2 mil­lion euro from 239.3 mil­lion euro. The main rea­sons be­hind the im­proved fi­nan­cial per­for­mance were the higher op­er­at­ing profit and the lower fi­nan­cial loss.

Like in the pre­vi­ous years, the third spot is oc­cu­pied by Bul­gar­ian oil re­fin­ery Lukoil Neftochim. The loss-mak­ing re­fin­ery booked a 21.2% surge in its rev­enue to 3.446 bil­lion. Its net loss, how­ever, widened to 69.5 mil­lion euro in 2011 from 47.2 mil­lion a year ear­lier. The re­fin­ery lost its fuel trad­ing li­cence in July 2011 af­ter it missed the dead­line for the in­stal­la­tion of me­ters linked to the cus-

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