We hear a lot about the largest companies in the world, but to us it may be more interesting to look at the biggest companies in our region. Here is an overview of the Visegrád countries, plus Austria and Romania.
There are many factors
It is almost impossible set up an order of the largest companies, as it is a question of which parameter we consider to be the most important: a company's revenue, profit, book value, market value or perhaps market capitalization, i.e. the product of the share price and share number.
There are two problems with the latter, though: firstly, it only works for listed companies, while not all large companies are listed; and secondly, in the case of excessive market optimism or pessimism, the value can be severely distorted.
Therefore, the best solution is to take all the factors into consideration so that major distorting effects can be eliminated. In fact, it is not the actual rank order that is crucial, but which companies account for a significant share of the country's GDP.
AustriaWe will first have a look at Austria, as this country is most often referred to as a ‘goal to catch up with’, and since we had belonged to the same economic and political entity with it just over 100 years ago, some of the largest Austrian companies or their predecessors already existed at that time, possibly operating throughout the whole of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
Traditionally, OMV, the largest oil company is considered to be the biggest Austrian company, which became well-known during their attempt to acquire Mol. This is so, despite the fact that sales and profits of oil companies have declined in recent months due to low oil prices and the decrease in consumption, as this may only be a temporary situation. Erste and Raiffeisen, the two big banks we are all familiar with come next, although they are sometimes mentioned as the first two largest companies due to their high equity value.
The largest Austrian companies:
1 OMV oil and gas industry
2 Erste bank
3 Raiffeisen bank
4 Strabag construction
5 Voestalpine steel industry
6 Vienna Insurance insurance
7 Verbund electricity provider
8 BAWAG bank
9 Uniqa insurance
Strabag, the well-known construction company, and a little-known Linz-based steel company, Voestalpine are next, based on their massive revenues. 6th is Vienna Insurance Group, followed by Verbund, which provides 40% of the country’s electricity supply. At the end of the list is another bank, BAWAG, and Uniqa, an insurance company.
Romania comes next, our southeastern neighbour. Based on revenue, the largest company is car manufacturer Dacia, however, since it has been delisted, it cannot be measured in terms of market capitalization. In this respect, electricity supplier Hidroelectrica is the largest, comparable to the Austrian Verbund. Next is OMV-Petrom, an oil and gas company largely owned by the Austrian oil company, and yet another oil company, Rompetrol.
The largest companies in Romania:
1 Dacia car industry
2 Hidroelectrica electricity provider
3 OMV Petrom oil and gas industry
4 Rompetrol oil industry
5 Banca Transylvania bank
6 Kaufland retail
7 Ford Romania car manufacturing
In terms of sales revenue, the following are not listed companies, but local subsidiaries of multinational companies such as the German department store chain, Kaufland, Ford’s local car factory, British American Tobacco, Lukoil, and then the French Carrefour. Banca Transylvania can be mentioned as one of the larger companies in the stock exchange, and interestingly there is Digi, which is the 10th largest company in the stock exchange, and the owner of which is ethnic Hungarian businessman Zoltán Teszári.
Poland is the largest member of the Visegrád countries. As the stock exchange plays a significant role in Poland, it is a great acknowledgement to be listed and so the biggest companies all are.
PKO Bank comes first and the oil and gas company PKN Orlen is second (similarly to Hungary, where OTP and Mol are the two largest in the stock exchange). However, the third place is a real curiosity, a real gem: CD Project, a modern enterprise in a young industry, which we also introduced on növekedés.hu. It was set up 26 years ago, and it develops video games, which are marketable all over the world, just like products of the largest American companies. In March, when stocks in traditional industries plummeted, CD Project temporarily became the largest company. If it can continue to grow dynamically, it can take the first position permanently. The Polish subsidiary of the Spanish bank Santander is in fourth place, interestingly. You can read about the situation of the banking market in the region here.
The largest Polish companies:
- PKO bank
- PKN Orlen oil and gas industry
- CD Project IT
- Bank Santander bank
Czech Republic and Slovakia
It is not easy to determine the rank order in the Czech Republic, as the stock exchange is less important there than in the countries mentioned so far. Skoda is unquestionably in the first place, although, as it is owned by Volkswagen, it is not listed in the stock exchange. And yet, it tells a lot about the company that it accounts for 10 percent of the total Czech export volume. Electricity supplier CEZ comes second, followed by Komercni Banka. Apart from these, three other companies are worth mentioning: Agrofert, a conglomerate owned by former Prime Minister Andrej Babis, the electronics company Foxconn, and the chemical company Unipetrol, the majority owner of which is PKN Orlen.
The largest companies in the Czech Republic:
1 Skoda car manufacturing
2 CEZ electricity provider
3 Commercial Bank bank
4 Agrofert holding
5 Foxconn electronics, technology
6 Unipetrol chemical industry
The third Visegrád country, Slovakia. As it is a small country, it is understandable that several of its largest companies are local factories of foreign parent companies: Volkswagen is first and Kia Motors is second. Third is Slovnaft, in which Mol has majority ownership, fourth is PCA (Peugeot-Citroen), and fifth is Samsung.
Largest companies in Slovakia:Company Industry
2 Kia Motors car manufacturing
3 Slovnaft oil industry
4 PCA car manufacturing
5 Samsung electronics
HungaryFinally, to complete our overview of the region we’ll look at Hungary, the last of the Visegrád countries, and its largest companies. It is even harder to determine a rank order here than in other countries, as it is common knowledge that in terms of market value OTP is the largest company, followed by Mol. In terms of sales revenue, however, there are many large companies that are not listed. There is another controversial fact, namely that Mol surpasses OTP in terms of sales revenue (as a bank, its sales revenue is made up of interests and fees, but from our point of view this is irrelevant). In fact, oil companies operate with huge turnover and relatively narrow profit margins, which explains the distortion. The judgement of the stock market puts OTP in first place, which is also justified by the fact that last year its profit was higher than Mol’s.
The largest Hungarian companies:
1 OTP bank
2 Mol oil industry
3 Audi car manufacturing
4 MVM energy
5 Mercedes car manufacturing
6 Flex electronics
7 Wizz Air airline
8 Richter pharmaceutics
Audi is in third place, MVM is in fourth, followed by Mercedes-Benz as another car manufacturer, followed by Flex(tronics), and then Wizz Air. In our view, Richter deserves to come next, although its 500 billion turnover is exceeded by a few other companies, but we mustn’t forget that in terms of stock exchange value Richter is worth 1,250 billion forints, only 20% less than Mol.