The Pakterminal oil terminal, Imavere Saeveski sawmill and cellular phone provider Eesti Mobiiltelefon were the most successful companies in 1997. Six different lists were made, first to measure the 500 most successful companies in Estonia. They were measured by profit, turnover, profitability rate and the increase in these categories from the previous year. The most successful companies were then arranged into a Top 100 list according to their positions in former calculations.
Pakterminal, which earned 454 million kroons ($33.6 million) from a 756 million kroon turnover was also the leading profit maker in 1997. The company earned a 60 percent profit last year, which gave it the second position on the profitability list. The average profitability rate of the 500 companies was about 3 percent.
The first place in the competition for the highest profit percentage was given to Talinvest, an investment fund, but there was some disagreement about the choice.
According to Mati Feldmann from Aripaev, it should have been left out of the Top 100 competition, as the economic figures in an investment bank have different meanings from those of a manufacturing enterprise. Banks and insurance companies were not included in this competition as their turnover estimation is different from those of manufacturing companies.
Eesti Energia, the state energy company, has held the first place on the turnover Top 100 list since these calculations began in 1993. Since its growth has not been as remarkable, it is in the 52nd position on the overall list. Eesti Energia was the only company in 1997 whose turnover exceeded 3 billion kroons and the only one in 1996 with a turnover above 2 billion kroons. The number of companies with sales exceeding 1 billion kroons in 1997 was eight, while in 1996 there were only three such companies.
The profit limits in 1996 and 1997 were set by Pakterminal, the only company whose profit exceeded 200 million kroons in 1996 and 400 million kroons in 1997. Only six companies earned more than a 100 million kroons in 1997 and four in 1996. Eesti Mobiiltelefon and Eesti Telefon have held the second and the third position on the profit list for two years now.
Pakterminal was also the most successful company in 1995. In 1996 it was held by the water utility Tallinna Vesi and in 1994 by the Saku Olletehas beer brewery.
Aripaev credits Pakterminal's efficiency as the secret of its success. The newspaper also said that Pakterminal has established successful cooperation with the Tallinn Harbor and Estonian Railway.
Pakterminal has created a strong partnership with Pakhoed International, one of the largest terminals in the world, and good business contacts with Estonian and Russian oil companies, said a competitor from EOS terminals in an interview with Aripaev.
In 1997, the turnover of the 500 biggest Estonian companies increased by 29 percent over the previous year, indicating that this was a successful year. The total turnover of the 500 biggest companies has increased from 65 billion kroons to 84 billion kroons. The profit almost doubled from 1.4 to 2.7 billion kroons. This shows that the average profitability is 3 percent. Only one out of the 14 biggest companies could manage to earn above one kroon per every 10 kroon sales last year.
According to the Baltic Business Power Project, which does a similar survey in the Baltic states, there are many small-scale profitable companies in Estonia. But only two - Pakterminal and Eesti Energia - hold a position in the Baltic Top 10 list. Latvian state energy giant Latvenergo and the oil company Ventspils Nafta from Latvia and the telephone company Lietuvos Telekomas from Lithuania hold the first three positions on the Baltic Top 10 list.