Poland’s Orlen ranked among Europe’s 50 largest companies in new Fortune list

Polish state energy giant Orlen has been ranked as 44th largest company on the continent in the first edition of the new Fortune 500 Europe ranking. It is the only firm in the Central and Eastern Europe region between Germany and Russia to make it into the top 50.

On the Fortune Global 500 list, Orlen ranked 216th, up from 424th last year, following the Polish firm’s rapid recent expansion.

In 2022, Orlen’s revenue – the basis for the ranking – reached $62.33 billion, placing it just above aerospace giant Airbus ($61.81 billion) and below consumer goods company Unilever ($63.18).

The European ranking is led by Shell ($386.20 billion), Volkswagen ($293.69 billion) and Uniper ($288.30 billion). The only other European firm east of Germany and Austria that was ranked high than Orlen is Russian state energy giant Gazprom ($167.82 billion).

Map showing all companies in the Fortune 500 Europe ranking, with the size of circles representing their annual revenues (source: Fortune)

Orlen’s 2022 revenue was 83.2% higher than a year earlier, which was the strongest year-on-year growth among the top 50 companies on Fortune’s European ranking. In terms of profits, Orlen was ranked 33rd, after netting $7.52 billion last year.

Those figures follow Orlen’s recent rapid expansion through a series of acquisitions, mainly of other Polish state energy firms such as Lotos, PGNiG and Energa.

The company welcomed the news of its high position in the US magazine’s ranking, saying it “confirms the group’s strong position in the region”.

“Orlen’s high position among Europe’s largest companies demonstrates the new business opportunities we have gained by merging with Energa, Lotos and PGNiG,” the company said in a statement.

Polish state energy firms Orlen and PGNiG have completed their merger, marking the latest step in plans for Orlen – already the largest company in Central and Eastern Europe – to become a global player.

CEO Daniel Obajtek says more acquisitions may follow https://t.co/1oOLfibWDR

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) November 3, 2022

The company now has seven refineries in Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania, and has more than 3,000 petrol stations in seven countries, serving more than 15 million customers in the region. This summer Orlen entered its latest market, Austria, after buying 266 local petrol stations.

The refiner also has ambitions to become a multi-energy company. Orlen has been recently heavily investing in renewable energy sources, setting out to participate in the construction of Poland’s first offshore wind farm, as well as carbon capture and storage projects.

The firm’s ambitions have also received strong government backing, with Orlen’s CEO, Daniel Obajtek, closely linked to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which is now set to leave office. During the recent election campaign, Orlen was accused of manipulating fuel prices to boost PiS’s bid for a third term.

There are five more Polish companies, all state owned, on Fortune’s European list. Polish insurer PZU was ranked 337th, energy holding Tauron was 392th, mining company KGHM was 414th, mining and energy company Enea was 440th, and PKO Bank Polski was 468th.

Construction of Poland’s first offshore wind farm is set to begin.

The 1.2 GW capacity Baltic Power project – a joint venture between Polish state energy giant Orlen and Canada’s Northland Power – will supply around 3% of Poland’s electricity needs https://t.co/RlygocqgfZ

— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) October 12, 2023

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Main image credit: Orlen press pack

Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.

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