This paper uses representative panel data on 1,701 Bulgarian and 2,047 Romanian manufacturing firms to analyze how price-cost margins are affected by privatization and competitive pressure. Privatization is associated with higher price-cost margins. This effect is stronger in highly competitive sectors, which suggests that the creation of competitive markets and privatization go together. It also suggests that privatized firms reduce costs rather than increase prices, as in highly competitive markets firms are more likely pricetakers. Import penetration is associated with lower price-cost margins in sectors where product market concentration is high, but in more competitive sectors this effect is reversed.