Just a few years ago, triple-digit growth among corporate giants was more of an exception. In the decade between 2010 and 2020, there were only a few cases in which more than 10 rapidly growing companies were included in the ranking of the fastest growing companies in the Capital 100, and most often these were newly discovered plants gradually operating to full capacity. In the last three years, however, the picture has been different.
Somewhat paradoxically, the start of the current trend of triple-digit jumps dates back to the year of the coronavirus. In 2020, while the crisis wiped BGN 5 billion off the revenues of the largest 300 companies in Bulgaria, the group of the most dynamic reported an unprecedented 87% growth of its business. Also, a total of 17 companies were growing at three-digit and higher rates. In 2021, 35 of the country's corporate leaders saw their turnover at least double year-on-year, and the average increase among the top 50 was an even more phenomenal 144%. The past year 2022 deviated only marginally from this achievement with the revenues of the most dynamic 50 jumping by an average of 139% on an annual basis. And almost every second one - a total of 23 of the companies - has a three-digit acceleration. The reason for this year's expansion lies largely in the explosion of energy prices.
The top three
A representative of the booming energy sector is this year's leader in the ranking - electricity trader KER Toki Power, in which Capital's publisher Ivo Prokopiev is also a shareholder. TOKI Power was established in the summer of 2020, and in the spring of 2022, the Energy and Development Company (KER) also joined it, which, together with the high electricity prices, shot up the turnover. Thus, for the past year, revenues jumped by an impressive 1,329% to BGN 519.6 million, and the company ranks 75th in the overall Capital 100 ranking.
Last year's number 1 in terms of growth, Expo Bulgaria, which in 2021 almost reached the level of BGN 1 billion, recorded another strong year in 2022. By the end of the reporting period, the revenues of the Bulgarian company of the leading Swiss producer of renewable energy and trade in energy resources, Axpo Group, exceeded BGN 6 billion. With growth of almost 510%, the company shot up to the top five of corporate giants in Bulgaria, occupying the second position in the ranking of the most dynamic.
The top three is completed by the new plant of the group of Liebherr in the country - Liebherr Concrete Technologies Maritsa. The factory, which produces assembly parts, concrete truck barrels and assembles concrete trucks, officially opened in July 2022, but had already been operational for nearly a year by then. By the end of 2022, more than 120 people were employed in the production, and the revenues were BGN 53.3 million, an increase of 483% compared to the previous incomplete year of activity.
Stories of growth
AmonRa Energy, an importer of photovoltaic panels created in the summer of 2020 by Dimitar Beleliev, is starting almost from scratch. The company entered the capital market at the end of 2022, and in its initial public offering on BEAM managed to raise BGN 3.1 million from investors. Revenues for 2022 total BGN 56.4 million, growing by 364% on an annual basis.
Between the two newcomers among the corporate leaders with the fourth highest growth in revenue in 2022 - 409%, stands another familiar player from last year's ranking - electricity and gas trader MET Energy Trading Bulgaria; it managed to enter the club of "billionaires" last year, reaching BGN 3.7 billion.
In fact, a total of 21 companies from the top 50 by growth are in the energy sector. This group includes the state-owned giants TPP Maritsa-Iztok 2, Bulgargaz, NPP Kozloduy and BEH, as well as the traders Balkan Logic, EVN Trading South East Europe, Energo-pro energy services, Citigas Bulgaria and Rytam-4-TB.
Among the dynamically growing new productions is Kashif from Jebel. In 2022, the company's hydraulic cylinder business grew by 80.8% to over BGN 136 million, thanks to both new customers mainly from Italy and Germany, as well as an acceleration from rising inflation following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine last year.
The war has accelerated the revenues of arms dealer Armaco by 265.5%, which in its activity report includes new contracts with customers and predicts the effect of this on its sales in the current and next year. For the future growth of its business, the company, which in 2019 bought the Kartala ski resort area near Blagoevgrad, also relies on a photovoltaic plant put into operation in 2022, as well as on a hotel in Koprivshtitsa that opened during the same year. The military plant Dunaritalso also saw three-digit growth, with increased revenues by 140% to BGN 136 million.