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Polish companies top-performers in Eastern Europe

Published on 14/09/2009

Vienna — Some 38 percent of top-performing companies in central and eastern Europe in 2008 were based in Poland, business consultancy Deloitte says in a report to be published this week.

Poland, an exception in the region in managing to avoid recession, led the ranking of 500 companies with the highest revenues in 2008, in front of Czech Republic with 14 percent, and Hungary with 12 percent of companies in Deloitte’s CE Top 500 report.

In the number-one spot was Polish oil company PKN Orlen, ahead of Hungary’s MOL, thanks in part to a rise in oil prices throughout most of 2008, Deloitte said.

They were followed by two manufacturers — Ukraine’s MetInvest Holding and Czech carmaker Skoda Auto, a unit of Germany’s Volkswagen — and Czech energy company CEZ.

Energy firms were among the strongest in the region last year, making up 30 percent of entries in Deloitte’s list, but bringing in 40.3 percent of total sales.

"The experience of the region’s 500 largest companies tracks that of its countries, with the first three-quarters of 2008 continuing the story of growth, followed by the impact of the global economic and financial crisis," said Deloitte in a statement on its website.

"It is those companies and countries that have effectively grasped the opportunity to overhaul and reform creaking structures, systems and processes that will emerge in the years to come as the strongest players in the region."

In 2008, 78 percent of its 500 listed companies saw their revenues increase by an average of 20 percent. But following the global economic crisis, an almost equal number — 76 percent — witnessed a 23-percent drop in revenue in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

The Deloitte report looked at 18 countries in the central and eastern European region, from the Baltic states to the Balkans, and from Hungary to Ukraine.