William Malcolm

PPF Seeks Public Offer For Moneta Shares

Petr Kellner’s PPF Group aims to launch a public offer for shares in Moneta Money Bank and sell its Air Bank unit to the lender in a share swap that renews an attempt at a deal that fizzled two years ago.

Moneta published it today as mandatory information and added that it is ready to negotiate the acquisition with PPF. PPF had a similar plan in 2018, but the transaction was eventually canceled. Now PPF has also made a voluntary proposal to buy part of Moneta’s shares from its shareholders up to 20 percent. Moneta’s Board of Directors is due to comment on the redemption by 29 January.

PPF spokeswoman Jitka Tkadlecov√° did not want to comment on the offer. “We can confirm that we have sent the said share repurchase offer to Moneta Money Bank. Until the addressee comments on our offer, we consider it rude to comment on it publicly,” Tkadlecov√° said.

PPF Group states in a public proposal that it now holds a 0.63 percent stake in Moneta. A voluntary public proposal to repurchase shares applies to all Moneta shareholders. PPF is offering CZK 80 per share. Today, Moneta shares ended trading on the Prague Stock Exchange at 67.10 crowns. The proposal envisages the repurchase of shares whose total nominal value, when PPF’s share in Moneta is included, does not exceed 20 percent, with the right of PPF to increase this maximum volume to 29 percent unilaterally.

The repurchase is to take place in two phases. The first part of the repurchase will be unconditional, and the second will be conditional on obtaining regulatory approval from the Czech National Bank. Moneta’s shareholders can accept the repurchase from 8 to 26 February, PPF reserves the right to extend the binding period until 5 March. “A voluntary public repurchase proposal will not lead to control of Moneta by the PPF Group,” Moneta said based on PPF’s information.

The acquisition is PPF’s interest in reaching an agreement with Moneta on the acquisition and mutual combination of business activities, the merger of Air Bank and other PPF Group companies providing financial services in the Czech Republic Slovakia with Moneta. The letter also assumes two-way due diligence.

According to Capitalinked.com analyst Radim Dohnal, PPF’s second attempt is improved, and the transaction has a much better chance of completion than the first attempt in autumn 2018. “PPF very cleverly used the moment when the Czech Republic discusses worse expectations of economic recovery The Czech Republic and abroad, and banking titles have had a roughly two-week correction, “said Dohnal. According to him, no one from outside expected such a transaction at this time. According to him, Moneta will “quite possibly” focus more on Zonky during the in-depth inspection. According to data in the Commercial Register, the company Benxy, which mediates loans between people under the Zonky brand, deepened its loss to 365 million crowns the year before, from 275 million a year earlier.

PPF Group invests in many industries, from financial services, telecommunications, real estate, engineering to biotechnology. Among other things, it owns a majority stake in the domestic operator O2, and last October completed the acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises (CME), thus controlling, among other things, the Nova television group. At the end of the first half of the year, PPF owned 44 billion euros (approximately 1.15 trillion crowns) and employed 98,000 people worldwide. According to Forbes magazine, Petr Kellner’s assets amount to 293 billion crowns.

Moneta Money Bank has been operating under its current name since 2016. At that time, the bank’s name was changed from the former GE Money Bank to its listing on the stock exchange in May of the same year. Moneta is one of the largest companies traded on the Prague Stock Exchange. The Moneta Money Bank Group’s net profit for the three quarters of last year fell by 37.6 percent year on year to approximately 1.9 billion crowns. The covid-19 pandemic marked the fall in profits. The number of Moneta’s clients rose by 35.6 percent year on year to 1.4 million.

Air Bank reported a net profit of 1.2 billion crowns in three quarters, a year-on-year increase of eight percent. The number of clients increased by 80,000 to about 847,000. Air Bank obtained a CNB banking license in May 2011.