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Czech billionaire Kretinsky's sprawling empire

Published 26/04/2024, 08:29
© Reuters. Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky speaks at a conference in Prague, Czech Republic, October 17, 2023.    REUTERS/David W Cerny/ File photo
VIV
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CECG
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TKAG
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SBRY
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CASP
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ATOS
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TFFP
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PTNL
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FL
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IDSI
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FNAC
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(Corrects details on EPH ownership through EPCG, specifies 2023 EBITDA provided is for EPCG's energy business)

(Reuters) -Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky continued his buying spree in Europe on Friday, as one of his investment vehicles agreed to buy at least 20% of Thyssenkrupp (ETR:TKAG)'s steel business in Germany.

He has at least six investments in France, three in Britain and one in Germany.

Kretinsky, 47, a former investment bank lawyer who built one of Europe's largest energy groups, Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH), has been diversifying into retail, media and other areas.

His net worth stands at $9.2 billion, according to Forbes.

Kretinsky's investment vehicle VESA Equity Investment has a portfolio valued at more than 3 billion euros ($3.15 billion), according to its website.

Here is a summary of some investments by firms controlled by Kretinsky and his long-term business partner, Patrik Tkac:

EPH

Kretinsky holds slightly over 50% in EPH through its parent EPCG, which owns scores of energy companies across western and central Europe.

The energy business of EPCG reported a combined core profit (EBITDA) of 7.3 billion euros ($7.8 billion) for 2023. Their assets have installed capacity of 22 gigawatts and produced 72.5 terawatt hours of power last year.

EPH said on April 25 it was evaluating whether to exercise an option to take over Enel (BIT:ENEI)'s stake in main Slovak electricity producer Slovenske Elektrarne, in which they effectively hold 33% each.

It has controlling or large stakes in lignite, gas, renewable and nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, Britain, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, among others.

The group also includes Slovak gas transit pipeline operator Eustream, gas storage firms, cargo and commodity trading businesses.

POSTAL SERVICES

* International Distributions Services

Kretinsky is working on improving an offer for the Royal Mail (LON:IDSI) parent, a source with knowledge of the plans said on April 17, after his investment vehicle said it had made a non-binding bid this month which was rejected.

VESA Equity is the biggest shareholder in International Distributions Services, holding a 27% stake, according to LSEG data.

* PostNL

Kretinsky has accumulated a 31.4% stake in the Dutch mail and package delivery group through VESA Equity, a regulatory filing showed in November 2022.

* Quadient

Kretinsky invested 1 billion Czech crowns ($42.7 million) in November to buy a stake in the French mailroom equipment company. His vehicle VESA owns 10% of the voting rights, according to its website.

RETAIL

* Casino

Kretinsky's Casino buyout consortium said in February that the Paris Commerce court had approved its plan to bail out the debt-laden French retailer under an accelerated protection procedure.

The French retailer said on Oct. 5 it had sealed a deal to avert bankruptcy through a debt restructuring agreed with its main creditors, led by Kretinsky.

This finalised a July agreement in principle that called for 1.2 billion euros of new money to be injected into Casino and a reduction of its debt by 6.1 billion euros. A consortium led by Kretinsky will end up with 50.4% to 53% of Casino shares, based on the July agreement.

* Fnac Darty

VESA Equity also became the largest shareholder of French retailer Fnac Darty, crossing a 25% threshold in March, according to French markets regulator AMF. VESA owns 29% of Fnac Darty's voting rights, according to the investment vehicle's website.

* Foot Locker (NYSE:FL)

VESA Equity owns 12.3% voting rights in the U.S. sportswear and footwear retailer.

* Metro

Kretinsky holds 49.99% of the German retail group's voting rights, German weekly "Lebensmittelzeitung" reported in March, and is the controlling shareholder of the group.

* Sainsbury's

VESA Equity also has a 9.99% stake in the British supermarket group, LSEG data said.

MEDIA

* Editis

France's Vivendi (EPA:VIV), controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, agreed in June to sell its publishing business Editis to International Media Invest, a subsidiary of Kretinsky's Czech Media Invest (CMI).

CMI publishes four daily newspapers, a number of magazines, and has an extensive digital and radio presence in the Czech Republic.

Vivendi said in November it would receive a total of 653 million euros after finalising the sale.

* Elle, Marianne

Kretinsky also owns several French titles via CMI, such as Elle and news magazine Marianne, according to the CMI website.

* TF1

VESA Equity holds 5% in French TV company TF1, according to LSEG data.

OTHER

* Thyssenkrupp

The German industrial conglomerate said on April 26 it would sell a 20% stake in its steel business to Kretinsky's vehicle EP Corporate Group (EPCG).

Thyssenkrupp said the parties are also in talks about the acquisition of a further 30% stake, with the aim for an equal 50-50 joint venture.

The conglomerate's CEO said in January that weakening steel markets were complicating the talks.

* Atos

Bloomberg reported on Feb. 29 that Kretinsky was in renewed talks to buy parts of Atos, citing people familiar with the matter, a day after negotiations over a 2 billion-euro deal for Atos' legacy operations unit, Tech Foundations, collapsed.

* DoDo

Logistics firm DoDo, which provides fast delivery services to customers in e-commerce, retail and food delivery, said in May 2022 that Kretinsky would inject 60 million euros into the group over two years to support its international expansion.

* West Ham

Kretinsky's 1890s Holdings group has a 27% stake in English Premier League soccer club West Ham United, according to the club's website, adding to his ownership of the leading Czech team, Sparta Prague.

© Reuters. Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky speaks at a conference in Prague, Czech Republic, October 17, 2023.    REUTERS/David W Cerny/ File photo

($1 = 0.9321 euros)

($1 = 23.4250 Czech crowns)

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