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Coface CEE Top 500: Top companies with increasing turnover but sharply declining profits

Top 500 CEE
- Poland again ranked first, Hungary and Romania catching up while Ukraine dropping out of the Top 3
- More turnover did not lead to a stable development in net profits
- Oil & gas, energy and automotive are among winning sectors
- Economic region CEE: more inhomogeneous than ever
- Insolvency rate in the region almost tripled 

The international credit insurance company Coface presents its fifth annual study on the Top 500 companies in Central and Eastern Europe – the Coface CEE Top 500. It ranks the 500 biggest companies of the region by their turnover and additionally analyses further facts such as number of employees, the framework of the companies, sectors and markets.

Top-player: More turnover, but a sharp decline in profit 

Despite the economic crisis, the Top 500 players in the region increased turnover by 5% to over 628 billion EUR in 2012. However, this performance did not lead to a stable development in net profits. Whereas in 2011 the top companies of CEE improved their profits, they declined by almost 32% from 30 billion EUR to 20 billion EUR in 2012. 

The number of employees in the CEE Top 500 is developing positively, staff figures rose slightly by 1.5% compared to last year. But the picture is quite heterogeneous, increasing unemployment rates mostly go hand in hand with high release rates in the Top companies, as the study shows.  


Top 3 countries: Poland, Hungary and Romania 

Most major players from the CEE-region come again from Poland, which counts for more than one third of the top companies in the field (171 companies, 34.2%). Thereby, the country could even extend its lead (2011: 31,8% of the top companies). The Polish top companies could generate a turnover of 234 billion EUR, which is an increase of 6% compared to the last year. Despite a loss of 30%, Polish companies also stay at the top in terms of net profit (2012: 8,460 million EUR; 2011: 12,014 million EUR). The country showed – after the strongest GDP growth in the EU in 2011 – a sharp slowdown in 2012 while insolvencies reached record levels at the same time. 

Hungary is the country with the second highest number of companies (66; 13.2%) among the Top 500 of the CEE-region. Hungary was ranked third in 2011 – although the performance of the Hungarian economy (GDP) dropped by 1.7%, the turnover of the top companies rose slightly to 240 billion EUR (+2.2%). A close monitoring of the country is recommended as the net profit are declining year over year (-27.5%). 

For the first time, Romania kicked Ukraine off the podium and catapulted from fifth to third place. This can be explained by an increase of 22.7% of companies and a total of 54 companies in the ranking. 

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Diana OROS

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