Kellner: After my husband's death, I got to know PPF, last year I was more determined

by   CIJ News iDesk III
2024-07-01   07:06

Renáta Kellnerová, the widow of the group's founder Petr Kellner, said she took more decisive steps than before at PPF Investment Group last year. In the group's yearbook for 2023, which the company published last week, she said that in the first few years after her husband's death, she was just getting acquainted with PPF's operations. In his opening remarks, PPF CEO Jiří Šmejc wrote that the group had succeeded in meeting a crucial part of the main objectives he had set when he took office in June 2022. He mentioned, for example, the withdrawal from Russia or the restructuring of the portfolio.

"While 2021 and 2022 were mainly a period of familiarisation with the processes within the group and an effort to find new stability disrupted by the sudden death of my husband, I have already taken a more decisive approach in the past year in relation to PPF," Kellner said. Peter Kellner died in March 2021 in a helicopter crash in the US. As one of her more decisive steps, Kellner mentioned the purchase of minority shares in PPF, after which the Kellner family became the sole owners of the group.

This was followed by the creation of Amalar last year to manage the Kellner family's assets. "As you are well aware, PPF has historically had a single majority shareholder whose shareholding has never fallen below 90 per cent. Petr knew his company perfectly, he was the only one who managed it and made decisions about it," Kellnerová said. After Kellner's death, however, the number of shareholders grew. "That's why we decided to create an entity that would be superior to PPF," she added.

Kellnerová said that in addition to managing the assets, Amalar would provide expert background for decisions on the future direction of PPF. "We have therefore brought in renowned experts from various fields whose analyses will help us navigate the specific issues that the management and administration of such a large asset inevitably brings," she said.

According to Kellner, PPF is succeeding in implementing its long-term strategy, developed in cooperation with the group's CEO Šmejc. "This consists of focusing on investments in Western markets and on sectors in which the group has been successful for a long time - in particular financial services, telecommunications, media and e-commerce - either as a majority owner or in cooperation with investment partners," she added. The strategy, she said, will bring PPF stable profits, but the group should also look for new investment opportunities where "others do not see them". "This is what has brought the group to where it is now, and we should not forget it," she said.

In his opening remarks in the yearbook, the PPF CEO mentioned several significant transactions last year. "Whether it was the sales of our Asian Home Credit Group companies, the strengthening in the media sector or the acquisition of a significant stake in InPost - a growth investment that will serve as a replacement for the parts of the Home Credit Group that were just sold," Šmejc said.

"The creation of a joint venture with telecommunications giant e& deserves special mention, as it is one of the largest transactions in PPF's history," added the group chief executive. Last year, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which operates under the e& brand, agreed to pay EUR 2.2 billion (CZK 54.3 billion) to take a controlling stake in PPF's telecommunications assets in Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia and Slovakia. The European Commission launched an investigation into the proposed sale earlier this year amid concerns that e& may have received state subsidies that would distort the EU's internal market.

PPF Group operates in 25 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. It invests in financial services, telecommunications, media, biotechnology, real estate and engineering. The group includes, for example, the repayment company Home Credit, Air Bank, the telecommunications companies Cetin and O2, the media company Central European Media Enterprises (CME), the real estate group PPF Real Estate Holding, the engineering company Škoda Group and the Czech toll operator CzechToll.

Source: CTK

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