Download the True Leaders 2021 eBook | Overview of the Romanian economy from an EBITDA perspective

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This is the 6th year that ICAP has published the list of True Leaders in Romania, alongside the two other markets where ICAP Group is present: Bulgaria and Greece. True Leaders is a very important segment of the market, cumulating 29.3 billion euros in turnover and 4.2 billion euros in profits and employing more than 153,000 people. These are the healthiest Romanian companies, not only in terms of their profitability (EBITDA) but also their organic growth (showing growth in the number of employees).

By Alexandra Mehedintu, Country Manager, ICAP Romania

In short, True Leaders is an objective financial analysis of Romanian companies, based on their balance sheets as of December 2020 and combining the following criteria:

  • Be part of the top 500 of the most profitable companies in Romania
  • Have the highest EBITDA in their industry
  • Record an increase in the number of employees
  • Have a high creditworthiness, in the very low risk band and the low risk band of the ICAP rating.

104 companies were selected this year and we are happy to see that the number of companies is relatively stable. Editorial Alexandra Mehedintu (Predeanu), Country Manager, ICAP Romania. We congratulate these exceptional companies who, even in times of crisis, have managed to stay risk free, hire more people, become more profitable and proudly represent their industry.

Among the companies of the TOP 500 by EBITDA are chosen the companies rewarded during the event True Leaders, after exclusion of those which do not meet the conditions. Because there might be more applicants for the same activity, categories are created based on the field of activity in which the companies operate. The domain is given by the NACE code declared as its main activity, its division or its group. The selection between the division (the first two digits of the NACE), the group (the first 3 digits of the CANE) and the NACE is made according to the diversity of activities included in each division.

For example: within the division ‘Wholesale trade except trade in motor vehicles and motorcycles’, each current NACE could be considered as a separate category. This is due to the diversity of activities included, from the wholesale of raw agricultural products and live animals to the wholesaling of food, beverages and tobacco.

Anda Sebesi, Editor-in-Chief, Business Review Magazine

On behalf of Business Review magazine, I am honored that for the second year in a row we are partnering with ICAP in the True Leaders Romania project. It rewards the exceptional performance of companies that have managed to maintain or even increase their profits and their teams in these difficult times.

2020 has been a milestone for the global business environment and humanity in general. It was one of the most difficult times in recent history and it forced managers to adapt quickly in order to keep their businesses afloat. Many of them had a crucial two-fold mission: to keep their businesses stable and take care of their teams while trying to strike the right balance between the two. Although a coronavirus vaccine has been discovered and the global economy has largely readjusted to the new normal, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc. As a result, it is evident that there is no turning back.

From an economic standpoint, Romania performed well last year, even under the pressures of the pandemic. With Editorial Anda Sebesi, Editor-in-Chief, Business Review, the biggest increase in gross domestic product in the European Union in the last quarter of 2020 (5.3%) and a total decrease of 3.9% on the whole of the year, our country needs better management of all its economic instruments to face the current context.

According to the most recent estimates, the local economy is expected to grow by around 4.3% this year. But the strength of the recovery will depend on the successful deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine and the political response to the health crisis, as well as developments at the EU level. The 79.9 billion euros that Romania is expected to receive from the European Union until 2027 is a great opportunity for the local economy. Some 49.5 billion euros will come from the 2021-2017 multiannual financial framework, while an additional 30.4 billion euros will be allocated through the recovery plan.

Today, companies should reflect on the weaknesses they have shown during the pandemic and think about how they can consolidate themselves, plan ahead and increase their efficiency in order to be better equipped to deal with such risks. And they must be bold. One of the key questions is: how do we view our competitiveness as a country and what are the main drivers of growth? Should our growth model be primarily based on industry or rather on services? Romania seems to be developing in both directions, as does Poland. But if we are to be successful, we must carefully consider the challenges and opportunities that await us today.


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