The leader in this year's GEPARD ranking is Walltopia, the largest producer of climbing walls in the world by volume. Since 1998, when Ivaylo Penchev and Metin Musov founded the company, it has experienced constant growth, earning close to 93 million levs in 2018. It also occupies 3rd place in the profit chart with its 20.8 million levs of profits. Ivaylo Penchev explained that "there is no particular reason for the revenue increase, it is the result of our cumulative efforts through the years".
Car retailers have also reported large sales volumes. The products they sell are pricey which explains their large revenues. The Toyota importer TM Auto, for example, is second in terms of sales revenue but it only employs 130 people, while the largest employer Trenkwalder Bulgarien, an employment agency, has 1800 workers. The leader in the HR sector in terms of revenues is Easy Consult.
The largest employers usually do not have big revenues, most frequently because their products have lower added value or pricing. This, however, is not always the case, especially in the IT sector and among outsourcing companies. Several big names with both serious revenues and employment stand out in the GEPARD ranking - SAP Labs Bulgaria, Experian Bulgaria, Sitel and 60K.
The profit leader EGT Interactive, which creates software for the online casino industry, is from the IT sector as well. It is one of the most profitable companies in the ranking with an impressive 66.6% profit margin and an ROE of 99.15%. The Malta-registered parent company is owned by three individuals - Ivelina Mihaleva, Maria Kamenova and Desislav Tsekov.
The ranking also includes several representatives of the construction, chemical and pharmaceutical industries such as Knauf Bulgaria, Essetere Bulgaria, Commercial League Healthcare & Insurance Group, Tchaikapharma.
The profitability Top 10 ranking includes the winner of last year's edition. Pentax Medical is connected to the healthcare sector to a large extent. The company repairs endoscopes and is part of the Japanese giant HOYA Corporation. Its profit nearly doubled - from 6.8 million levs in 2017 to 12.6 million levs a year later. Less numerous are the representatives of the food industry. Mesokombiat Ruse is an exception and is one of the most dynamic companies in terms of revenue. Another exception is one of the largest meat processing companies in southern Bulgaria, the Haskovo-based Ajax 1. Palirria Bulgaria is one of the largest employers in the food sector. The company makes canned foods and is part of the eponymous Greek group.
The furniture sector is represented by the Gabrovo-based mattress and furniture manufacturer Parallel, which employs more than 850 people, and AIKO retailer which grew its revenue by 27% to 89 million levs in 2018. In addition to furniture companies, the economic boom has logically benefited the construction sector as well which has its representatives in the rankings for revenue, profits and number of employees.
The picture formed by these excerpts from the ranking is rather colourful. It is notable that many of the companies represent international corporations and their Bulgarian divisions. The Top 20 earned a total of 1.7 billion levs and the profitability leaders reported over 290 million levs.