Polish firms make up 30 percent of the top 500 companies in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the Coface report, highlighting Poland’s outsized role in the region.
Poland is ahead of Czechia, which has 18.4 percent of the top 500 companies in the region and Hungary at 12.8 percent. The top company was Poland’s fuel giant PKN Orlen, ahead of Czech automobile giant Škoda.
Out of the 500 companies listed by Coface, 153 were Polish. The average turnover of a listed Polish company was €2 billion in 2021, more than 25 percent higher than in 2020. The profitability of these companies rose by 172.5 percent to €18.2 billion.
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PKN Orlen is reported to have increased its turnover by 52 percent, a figure released even before Orlen merged with Lotos. According to Orlen CEO Daniel Obajtek, once Orlen is merged with gas giant PGNiG, the fourth company on the Coface list, it will become one of the 150 biggest companies in the world.
Apart from PKN Orlen and PGNiG, two more Polish companies have found their way into the top 10 of the Coface list — the supermarket giant Jeronimo Martins Polska came in fifth and the energy corporation PGE was in seventh.
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Other Polish companies that were prominent on the list included copper giant KGHM, which saw profits rise by 243 percent in 2020 and Polish lottery operator Totalizator Sportowy, which rose 11 places from 27th to 16th while increasing its employee headcount by 26 percent and net profitability by 56 percent.
While public sector companies such as Orlen were prominent, it is worth noting that private companies did well too. Firms such as Eurocash, Asseco Poland, LPP, and Dino were all highly placed in the survey.
The Coface report indicates that the economy in the region has returned to normal after the pandemic slowdown. The recovery seems to have been quicker than in Western Europe. However, future results are likely to be affected by the conflict in Ukraine.
It is also worth noting that while Poland features 30 percent of the top 500 firms, it also has a far larger population and geographic size than other countries, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary.