The number of Bulgarian companies included in the annual Coface CEE Top 500, an annual publication on the biggest companies in the CEE region is 18. The state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding is the top ranking Bulgarian company and is the 25th ranking company in the index.
Traditionally the index is dominated by companies in the Energy, Automotive and Oil sectors. For another year, the Polish oil giant PKN Orlen is the leader in the ranking.
The revenue generated by the TOP 500 in 2016 was EUR 580 billion, a decrease of 0.6% from 2015. There was also a small decline in net profit – by 3.1% to EUR 26.3 billion, attributed to the drop in fuel prices.
The employment generated by the TOP 500 companies is rising sharply. The companies of the CEE Top 500 employed 4.5% of the total labor force in the region and significantly increased their workforce by +3.9% to 2.24 million people in the last year.
It is worth mentioning that most countries in the region recorded a steady decline in unemployment with some CEE countries reaching unemployment levels below that of most countries in Western European.
Eighteen Bulgarian companies are in Coface CEE Top 500 in 2016.
The Bulgarian Energy Holding is the top listed Bulgarian company at 25th place, followed by Lukoil Neftochim Burgas (45th) and Aurubis (78th). The other Bulgarian companies by order of ranking are: NEK, Lukoil Bulgaria, Kaufland Bulgaria, CEZ Elektro, Advance Properties, Express Logistics and Distribution, Bulgargaz, Daphne Group, OMV Bulgaria, Sopharma, BTC, Kozloduy NPP, Saksa, and the new participants Huvepharma and Astra Bioplant.
The total turnover of the 18 Bulgarian companies in the ranking was EUR 16 656 million. Most of them, including the first four, recorded a slight decline in turnover, which was typical for the whole region. The number of employees increased, which was also in line with the trend across the CEE.
Coface Bulgaria commented that the assessment of the economic situation in Bulgaria was favorable with a growth in consumption and net export, as well as in employment recorded. Some sectors of the Bulgarian economy, however, remained overly dependent on European funding, according to the international group.
Overall conclusions from the ranking
There was a labor market boom, while the turnover and profits of the largest companies went down by 0.6% and 3.1%, respectively. Poland remained the biggest player with 168 companies in the ranking and growth in their total turnover of 3.3%. Hungary and the Czech Republic were also part of top 3.
The analysis by sectors shows that 9 out of 13 sectors increased their turnover compared to the previous year, despite the decline of 0.6% in the total turnover . The decrease in turnover can be attributed to four sectors: Oil and Gas (-5.4%), Energy (-7.3%), Mechanical engineering (-59.1%) and Metals (-6.4%). Their revenue losses were too large to be offset by the positive performance of other sectors.
Transport and Automotive were leading in terms of turnover, which totaled EUR 128 billion, and registration of new cars in the EU, recording a 7% increase. According to Coface’s experts, the results for the entire CEE region led to a favorable economic environment and growing demand.
The full report is available here Bulgaria’s Profile is on page 36.