January 25, 2022

TOP 500 ranking of companies: behind the Covid-19 wall, the big gap

The health crisis appeared like a wall suddenly rising from the ground. And yet, the balance sheets show that many companies in Savoie and Haute-Savoie have been able to cross it. Many, but not all: the crisis was not the same for everyone.

In our Top 500 of Savoie Mont Blanc companies 2020 edition (established on the 2018 balance sheets), my colleague Sophie Guillaud spoke of companies and their managers as “obstacle course champions”. The life of a company should not be compared, she explained, nor to a sprint, even if companies must be go-getters; nor in a marathon, even if they must also know how to manage the effort. But rather “an obstacle course where the number and height of the hurdles to be crossed constantly varies. ”

The metaphor was beautiful, but when it comes time to review the year 2020 (whose results served as the basis for this new Top 500 2021), doesn’t it deserve to be completed? Shouldn’t we now think of an obstacle course during which, all of a sudden, a hedge can turn into a 5-meter-high brick wall? A wall behind which the emeritus pole vaulters who will do their best to cross it do not know at all what they are going to find, neither when they land their big jump, nor further?

Because that’s a bit like what happened in March 2020: a wall suddenly appeared. Taking lessons from the vast majority of businesses… and ordinary citizens! A wall in the physical sense: everyone then discovers the meaning of the word “confinement”, locked up at home 23 hours a day if it was not classified in the category of “essential”.


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A physical and psychological wall

A wall sometimes invisible but nevertheless impassable, also: border closures, prohibition of movement… A psychological wall, above all. Fear. Astonishment. Incomprehension. Lack of benchmarks to analyze. Lack of visibility. An unprecedented shock (apart from armed conflicts), by its depth, its scale, its sudden character. And which, however, is not found so spectacularly in the balance sheets, as noted by Jean-Luc Raunicher, president of Medef Auvergne Rhône Alpes (see page 16): public aid has been effective.

Above all, not all sectors and even more all companies were affected in the same way by this unprecedented shock. Some were shut down for several months. Others, on the contrary, were over-solicited. Still others have taken full force of this economic crisis when they were already facing a structural crisis (see page p52). In the end, even more than in a “normal” year, the ranking suffers, with a lot of movements and multiple changes in the benchmarks.


A classification turned upside down

Take the Top 10, the biggest companies in Savoie Mont Blanc. It has in our last ranking one more billionaire company, in terms of turnover (turnover), than in the previous edition (NTN-SNR, which in fact returns above this symbolic milestone). The number of billionaires continues to increase steadily: 5 in 2015, 6 in 2017 and therefore 7 in 2020.

A very efficient TOP 10

While 60% of companies in the Top 500 have recorded a drop in their turnover, within the Top 10, they are 7 out of 10 to have seen it increase. And if we add up the 2020 turnover of these 10 largest companies in the region, the total amounts to € 13,825 million (13 billion and 825 million) compared to € 13,234 million in 2018, i.e. +4, 5%. This cumulative turnover of our 10 champions thus made a “net” jump of 591 M €, with on the one hand 1,054 M € increase (7 companies) against 463 M € decrease (3 companies).

Two companies alone contributed more than half (57%) of the increase. First, Sopra-Steria, which gained € 168 million in turnover in two fiscal years. It is consequent but it is ultimately less than could be expected: the IT services specialist weighs 31% of the Top 10 (cumulative turnover) and his participation in this overall increase is “only” 16% .

The real performance is on the side of the Maurin group (car dealership): 440 M € increase in turnover (+ 44% in two years), or 40% of the total increase in the Top 10. Enough to reach 2nd place of our Top 500. An exceptional performance for the one who entered this ranking only 3 years ago (2019 edition based on 2017 reports), thanks to a move of its head office to Annecy. At the time, it had “only” € 840 million in turnover and reached € 1,440 million for the 2020 financial year. For the blink of an eye, it is the Eaux d’Evian that Maurin dislodges from second place in the Top 500. The automobile which supplants the natural element in its purest form: it is not quite like that that “the world after” was presented

The big gap

Another interesting indicator to observe in this Top 500: the difference between the first and the last in the ranking. On the one hand, Sopra-Steria, world giant and undisputed leader in our Savoie Mont Blanc ranking (it weighs three times more than the second!), With nearly 4.3 billion euros in turnover. On the other hand, the company Softica (Méry; Savoie), specialist in automatic doors, which reached the Top 500 for the first time, with a turnover of 9.1 M €. This is the lowest entry threshold observed for 5 years. In our last two editions, it took at least € 11.4 million to be included in this Top 500, or nearly 23% more turnover: this year, more than 70 companies, or 15% of the ranked (those from 429th place), do not reach this level of activity: if, thanks to public support measures, there was no massacre, the crisis is still clearly visible through the figures.

Our ranking has never recorded such a difference between its two extremes. This year, the turnover of the first is more than 450 times higher than that of the 500th (468 exactly) against 358 times in our previous ranking. Other figures which make it possible to visualize the effect of the crisis on the local economy, there were in our previous classification 53 companies above 100 million of turnover: they are not any more “than” 50.

Finally, the median (i.e. 250th place in the ranking) now stands at € 22 million in turnover: it was € 23.4 million in the previous edition (-6 %). The crisis has therefore left its mark… but not the same for everyone. This is what we invite you to discover in the pages of this Top 500, with an approach by sector (p52-53 then the tables on pages 70 to 80) and portraits of companies that have known, despite the context, continue their journey of success (pages 54 to 63 and 82 to 90).

Sopra, Groupe Maurin and Eaux d’Evian: the top three in the Top 500.


To establish these different classifications, we worked on private law companies having their head office in Savoie Mont Blanc and having filed their 2020 accounts. We verified these figures by cross-checking them with the financial data filed with the commercial courts, in contacting companies directly for confirmation or, more rarely, based on a simple declaration from them (especially for consolidations at group level). Undoubtedly linked to the crisis, some – but ultimately not too many – refused to publish and / or communicate to us the necessary elements when they usually did and therefore do not appear in this Top 500 edition 2022.

By Eric Renevier