William Malcolm

PPF, Kretinsky And Rockaway Acquire Fast CR

A consortium of PPF Group, EC Investments, and Rockaway has acquired Fast CR. Its business model integrates the wholesale business and its retail chain Planeo Elektro with the product portfolio of its brands. The value of the trade was not disclosed.

PPF and EC Investments Daniel Křetínský and Patrik Tkáč will hold 40 percent of the shares, and Rockaway Jakub Havrlant will have the remaining 20 percent. The previous owners of the Fast group were Tomáš and Marek Smrček, descendants of the late businessman Tomáš Smrčka. As both owners were minors until recently, their guardian was Zdeněk Pech, who was also the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fast ČR.

“A diversified and stable portfolio of own brands is the most attractive part of the Fast Group. It thus creates great potential for further development both in the current key markets of the Central European region and in other countries. It is the buyers who plan to build further growth of the group on their brands, “said the consortium of companies in a press release.

Fast Group’s management team will remain after the takeover. “The buyers have full confidence in the current management,” the press release said.

The Fast Group has been in profit for a long time, in 2020 it reported revenues of around CZK 13 billion and EBITDA (profit before interest, taxes, and depreciation) of over CZK 900 million, and in the previous year, it recorded a profit after tax of CZK 381 million. In 2019, it had a cumulative profit of 1.5 billion crowns. Every year, it pays dividends of 20 million crowns to shareholders.  

Křetínský, PPF, and Rockaway can significantly strengthen the Mall Group, which they co-own in equal proportions. The E-commerce giant has been loss-making for a long time, however, according to preliminary information provided by Hospodářské noviny, the company should record a profit for the first time last year, although its amount is not yet known. For the fiscal year from the beginning of last April to the beginning of March this year, the company reported revenues worth over 20 billion crowns. In 2019, it achieved a loss of 1.71 billion crowns, the year before it 1.69 billion.

The transaction must be approved by the antitrust authority. The merger would create a retail and wholesale group together with sales of around 33 billion crowns, for example, the Czech number one in e-commerce Alza.cz achieved sales of 37 billion crowns last year. 

In addition to the network of 90 Planeo Elektro stores, the Fast Group also owns the Sencor, Philco, and Fieldman electronics brands, in addition to which it supplies Beko or LG appliances to the Czech market. The company’s most important customers include Makro, Ahold, DataArt, or the Mall.cz e-shop. The company operates in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, employing a total of over a thousand people.