November 24, 2021
The list of the 30 most valuable companies in the Baltic States (see www.baltictop.eu), for more details) was published today, with the participation of CONFIDENTUS experts.
While the pandemic has brought losses and setbacks for some companies, it has opened the gates to success for others. One of them is Vilniaus prekyba, which increased its value by €1 billion in a year marked by quarantines and economic restrictions, and topped the list of the 30 most valuable companies in the Baltic States for the first time.
The list of the most valuable companies in the Baltics was compiled by Confidentus and Prudentia following a major financial analysis of the companies and based on an assessment of public information on corporate governance and transparency by experts from Nasdaq's offices in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn.
The top 30 most valuable companies in the Baltics are those with a value ranging from €569 million to €4.7 billion. Among them are ten companies headquartered in Lithuania.
The list of the most valuable companies also includes ten companies headquartered in Estonia and three companies headquartered in Latvia. Some of these companies have five subsidiaries also operating in Lithuania.
The top 30 also includes seven companies with a widespread presence in all three Baltic countries (e.g. Swedbank, SEB, Tele2, etc.), although they are headquartered in other countries.
The leaders of the list have used the pandemic for business success
Vilniaus prekyba, which has topped the list, manages, through its subsidiaries, Maxima, Akropolis and Ermitažas shopping centres, the Euroapotheca chain of pharmacies, and real estate development and rental services companies. Vilniaus prekyba, which operates in the Baltic States and in Poland, Bulgaria and Sweden, has a total of 46,000 employees and a turnover of almost EUR 5.3 billion last year.
According to Kristupas Kukarskas, an expert who has analysed the value of Lithuanian companies and a partner at M&A company Confidentus, one of the largest Lithuanian companies Vilniaus prekyba is an excellent example of how to take advantage of a difficult pandemic situation and all the challenges it entails to develop business.
"Operating in a relatively favorable trade sector and having a successful strategy in place, have only given this company even more momentum for growth despite the quarantines and economic restrictions. Our research shows that Vilniaus prekyba has increased its value by one billion euros in recent years, from EUR 3.6 billion in 2020 to EUR 4.7 billion in 2021, thus securing its position as the most valuable company in the Baltics," K. Kukarskas, one of the experts of the study, said.
Andrius Mikalauskas, Director of Vilniaus prekyba, says that during the pandemic, the company had to urgently ensure the safety of its employees and customers and adapt to various restrictions. "However, when every member of the team knows what and why he is doing a certain thing, even during a pandemic it is possible not only to meet people's changing expectations, but also to look for new business opportunities," he said.
According to Mikalauskas, the fact that Vilniaus prekyba has been recognised as the most valuable company in the Baltic States shows that the company is heading in the right direction. "On the other hand, it is quite logical - the Vilniaus prekyba group of companies in the Baltics has the largest number of employees, and people are the biggest value of the organisation," the Director said.
However, the survey also revealed some interesting surprises, such as the fact that another Lithuanian company, Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics, a biotechnology company belonging to a large US corporation, is on the heels of the retail giant, and its value is not far behind that of Vilniaus prekyba. This year, Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics has been valued by experts at EUR 4.4 billion and is now the second most valuable company in the top 30.
"Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics has also seen an impressive increase in revenues during the pandemic, from €440 million in 2019 to €1.2 billion in 2020.The company's main revenue growth has come from its Vilnius-based production of products to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, including components for COVID-19 PCR tests, and reagents for mRNA technology-based vaccines.
According to K. Kukarskas, Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics publicly announces very limited information on the management, structure and activities of the Lithuanian company and has only a Lithuanian website focused on recruitment. According to the M&A expert, this may be due to the fact that the company, being part of a large foreign corporation, simply does not take this into account and only provides all information about the parent company. However, these things already have some direct impact on the company's value - Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics stays behind Vilniaus prekyba in the ranking of the most valuable companies this year due to its significantly lower Corporate Governance indicator, which is determined by an assessment based on the information published on companies' websites.
For comparison, the Corporate Governance indicator of Vilniaus prekyba this year is 44, while that of Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics is 7, with a maximum indicator of 100.
"When assessing the value of a company, it is not only the financial situation of the company, the value of future cash flows for shareholders and financial creditors, or the amount of equity in the case of banks that matter. Observing and analysing business processes in Lithuania and globally, mergers and acquisitions, we see a trend that transparency, openness and sustainability-based governance are also becoming a significant component of a company's value. This is the assessment that our study makes based on publicly available information. However, some companies do not pay enough attention to this, and as a result, the value of some companies has significantly decreased as a result of the governance assessment," K. Kukarskas, Partner at Confidentus, reviewed.
The project's objectives include promoting the global competitiveness of Baltic companies
"We congratulate Lithuanian companies on the list of the most valuable companies in the Baltics and are pleased to see six companies listed on Nasdaq's Baltic market in this ranking, two of which are from Lithuania," said Saulius Malinauskas, President of Nasdaq Vilnius Stock Exchange.
"The list of the most valuable companies in the Baltics shows that this year's highest Good Governance Practices score was achieved by the Lithuanian listed energy company Ignitis Group. We hope that such examples of transparency, good corporate governance and investor relations will encourage more companies to strive for higher standards, and that the list of Lithuanian companies in this ranking will grow in the future," said S. Malinauskas.
Swedbank (76 / EUR 3.9 billion) and SEB (76 / EUR 2.5 billion), which have high Corporate Governance scores this year, are ranked third and fourth respectively in the top 30. The only company on the list with the maximum Good Governance Practices score (100) was the Lithuanian energy company Ignitis Group, which ranked fifth in the most valuable companies ranking. The value of this company (as well as the others listed on the stock exchange) is calculated on the basis of its price on the stock exchange - €2.2 billion.
The most valuable Estonian company was another energy company, Eesti Energia (€2.1 billion), which was ranked sixth, followed closely by Latvia's most valuable company, the energy company Latvenergo (over €2 billion). The full list of the most valuable companies in the Baltics is available at www.baltictop.eu.
"We are very pleased that the initiative that started 16 years ago in Latvia has grown into a Baltic project thanks to Prudentia and Confidentus. The TOP 30 Most Valuable Companies in the Baltics is a unique analytical information that allows the public to gain a deeper insight not only into the financial performance of each listed company, but also promotes the global competitiveness of the Baltic companies," said Kārlis Krastiņš, Managing Partner of Prudentia. By the way, Prudentia also compiles the local Estonian (www.top101.ee) and Latvian (www.top101.lv) TOP 101 lists of the most valuable companies every year.
For the Baltic value analysis, the data of approximately 1,000 companies in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia was assessed. The value of companies (equity value in the case of financial services companies) was determined by applying the comparable multipliers method and by assessing the transparency, openness and governance of companies. Listed companies' values were calculated on the basis of the stock exchange price.
The study only looked at publicly available data for companies registered in the Baltic States, which excludes some technology start-ups and unicorns. If a company has operations in several Baltic countries, their value was assessed on a consolidated basis.