In 2020, the top 300 firms in the country lost a total of 5 billion levs (2.5 billion euro) in revenue because of the coronavirus crisis. However, looking at the most dynamic 50 firms in the ranking, you wouldn't be able to tell there was a crisis at all: total revenue increased by a staggering 87%, a record-breaking rate for the past decade. Construction firms dominate the ranking of the fastest-growing companies in 2020 but the leader in terms of growth is the Czech-owned manufacturer of auto components Hronovsky BG.
That's the overview of the sector in this year's ranking of the biggest companies in Bulgaria by Capital (which you can find in English here)
Last year's records
In addition to the highest average revenue growth ever achieved in the top 50 group, the ranking of the most dynamic companies in 2020 also shows a new high regarding the number of firms reporting triple-digit (and higher) growth rates - a total of 17.
The champion in terms of revenue growth, Hronovsky BG, has been in Bulgaria for years, and in the past had production facilities in Parvomay (Plovdiv Province) before focusing its activities in Smolyan. In 2020, its turnover increased by over 4400% to 90.2 million levs.
This year, Dundee Precious Metals Krumovgrad is among the examples of companies that have grown significantly practically from scratch. The firm is developing the Ada Tepe mine near Krumovgrad, in the Rhodope mountain. Production in the mine began in mid-2019. Last year was the first, in which the company operated for a full 12 months, with, revenue increasing by 153.66% to 354.6 million levs.
A three-digit increase from a relatively low base was also recorded by Arkad Engineering and Construction, the leading company in the consortium building the extension of Russian Gazprom's TurkStream natural gas pipeline through Bulgaria. Previously controlled by a Saudi Arabian owner, the company was taken over by Gazprom in 2020. Last year, the firm's revenue increased by 295.26% to 1.3 billion levs, ranking it among the top 10 largest firms in Bulgaria.
Transport Construction and Reconstruction is also among the top 5 most dynamic firms in 2020 with a 700% increase in revenue, up to 173.8 million levs. The construction company's presence is the result of two factors. Firstly, business activities were transferred in 2020, after in 2019 the state-owned enterprise was transformed into a sole proprietorship under the Ministry of Transport. Secondly, last year the company received over 400 million levs worth of government contracts through in-house allotment from state-owned Port Infrastructure company to carry out a deepening of the waterway into the Black Sea port of Varna.
In third place in the ranking is electricity wholesaler Energy Trading System. The firm's annual revenue increased by 521.5% to 80.6 million levs in 2020.
A three-digit growth rate is also reported by one of the State Reserve's newest favorites in fuel transactions - Petrol Energy, owned by Georgi Samuilov. Petrol Energy, another of Samuilov's enterprises - Insa Oil, and fuel distributor Bent Oil took Lukoil Bulgaria's place as partners of the State Reserve for fuel supplies. In 2020, Petrol Energy's revenue increased by 135% to 93 million levs. In 2018, its revenue amounted to some 830,000 levs.
Growing before and during the crisis
For the most part, however, the companies that report a rapid expansion of their business activities in the period between 2018 and 2020 have been present on the local market for years before that. Among those that have reported three-digit growth rates in both 2019 and 2020 is BG Agro Trading Company - 2260% and 270%, respectively. Another example is Jysk Bul - the local representative of Danish JYSK opened a distribution center in Bozhurishte (Sofia Province) as a logistical base for both Bulgaria and the Balkans in general. Jysk Bul reports revenue growth of about 145% per year in both 2019 and 2020, nearing a total sum of 313 million levs by the end of last year.
Other examples are construction companies Glavbolgarstroy International and state-owned Montaji. In the last two years, Glavbolgarstroy International - an enterprise within Glavbolgarstroy Group specialized in projects in the gas industry, reported an increase of revenue by 400-500% in 2019 and 2020, reaching 276 million levs in turnover by the end of last year. On the other hand, Montaji - under the State Consolidation Company's auspices, benefited from dam repair projects reassigned through in-house procurement.
Who else is jumping high
State-owned motorway construction company Avtomagistrali, which has become a byword for the in-house model (direct assignment to a state-owned company which subsequently hires subcontractors, thus avoiding public procurement procedures) is also among the companies reporting triple-digit growth rates for 2020 - by 175% to 277 million levs. A total of 1 billion levs from the central budget have already been allocated to the company.
Another construction company in the triple-digit growth group is NIKMI, which reported revenue growth of 162% in 2020 to 165.8 million levs.. Sofia-based Interprom is also an example with an increase of 331% and total revenue of 97 million levs in 2020 because it participates in projects for water cycle and treatment plants across the country. It also participates in consortiums building the metro in Sofia.