Matt Atlas

PPF Group Will Fulfill Kellner’s Plans, Bartonicek Says

The PPF Group will fulfill the legacy and implement the plans of the deceased majority owner of the group, Petr Kellner. This was written by its executive director Ladislav Bartoníček in the introductory word of PPF’s annual report for 2020. According to him, in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, freedom continues to diminish and tensions between people and states increase, but the crisis has also brought the ability to come together. Bartoníček wrote the introductory word for the first time before it was always written by Kellner, who died at the end of March in a helicopter crash in Alaska.

“For the first time in PPF’s thirty-year history, Petr Kellner cannot be signed: an exceptional person who not only founded PPF but also led and developed it for 30 years and gave it its business vision,” said Bartoníček. “His tragic death has hit us all hard,” he added. According to Bartoníček, this year undoubtedly represents a certain milestone for PPF, the end of one stage. “Peter’s way of thinking and approach to business is deep in the roots of PPF. We will therefore fulfill his legacy and implement the ideas and plans for the future development of the group,” he wrote.

Below Kellner’s photo is also a short statement by the widow Renáta Kellnerová. “We miss Petr very much, but PPF has to keep working. I know it won’t be easy, but I have no doubt that we can all do it together,” she said. Kellner has been appointed trustee and represents the family at PPF Group Steering Committee meetings.

Bartoníček pointed out that the year 2020, which is the annual report, was mainly marked by a pandemic. “Unfortunately, we are seeing that even in the fight against the pandemic, freedoms are declining and regulation is increasing, that tensions and misunderstandings are growing between people and states,” he wrote. However, according to him, an unpredictable crisis can also reveal civic energy in society, a real ability to lead and come together. “We have also all been taught that humanity is not omnipotent,” he added.

According to Bartoníček, coronavirus caused not only loss of life, but also enormous economic damage to companies, including PPF. He reminded me that the group’s finances fell into a full-year loss for the first time. Last year, PPF reported a loss of EUR 291 million (approximately CZK 7.4 billion) against a net profit of more than EUR 1 billion in 2019.

The dramatic covid pandemic and the global slowdown in the economies affected Home Credit in particular, which has the largest share in PPF’s loss, Bartoníček pointed out. “On the contrary, our telecommunications companies (TelenorCEE, O2, and CETIN) did well even in these difficult times,” he added.

Bartoníček pointed out the coronavirus assistance in the countries where the group operates. “We mainly bought and distributed protective equipment, test kits, and lung ventilators,” he wrote. According to Bartoníček, the company also increased the capacity of its telecommunications networks due to the transfer of the economy and life to the Internet. “We took both as our obvious duty,” he said.

PPF invests in a number of industries, from financial services to telecommunications, media, biotechnology, real estate to engineering. PPF operates in Europe, Asia, and North America. At the end of 2020, it employed more than 94,000 people worldwide. PPF has its corporate ownership and management structure in the Netherlands. Until his death, the majority owner of PPF Group, NV was the richest Czech, Kellner, who, according to the company’s annual report, controlled 98.93 percent of PPF. The widow Renáta Kellnerová was appointed administrator of his estate.