Daniel Kretinsky and Patrik Tkac

Matt Atlas

Vesa Equity Increases Stake In PostNL To Over 15%

Daniel Křetínský and Patrik Tkáč have increased their holding in the Dutch postal company PostNL. Their fund Vesa Equity Investment took advantage of the September price drop and strengthened its position as the company’s largest shareholder. Both investors also increased their stake in the British Royal Mail.

Vesa already owns 77 million shares in PostNL, a dominant player in the Dutch market and has a strong position in other Benelux countries, corresponding to a share of 15.02 percent.

A previous announcement from an investment fund registered in Luxembourg on the De Autoriteit Financiële Markten website in mid-August stated that Vesa held 10.1 percent of the shares in PostNL.

Investors must notify whenever they exceed a certain proportion, namely 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 75 and 95 percent.

According to data from the financial website tikr.com, the Vesa Fund is the largest shareholder in the Dutch Post. According to the exchange rate from the end of Wednesday’s trading, which was 4.09 euros, the value of the share is 315 million euros, about eight billion crowns.

In September, the share price fell in the same way as world stock markets. At the turn of August and September, the exchange rate was around 4.40 euros. Despite the correction, it increased by almost half compared to the beginning of the year.

Other major shareholders in PostNL, with a market value of 2.1 billion euros, include Dutch magnate John de Mol and investment funds managed by US investment companies BlackRock, Acadian Asset Management and Britain’s Schroder Investment Management. The shares are traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.

Vesa first appeared in a list of announcements on the Dutch regulator’s website at the end of February, when its holdings exceeded three percent. It then increased it to five percent in early March.

“The investment in PostNL confirms Vesa’s strategic intention in the logistics sector,” said Branislav Miškovič, Investment Director of Vesa Equity Investment, in March. He emphasized that he considered “last mile” logistics to be a growing business, especially in the area of ​​parcel delivery. The term last mile is used for the final leg of the journey to the customer.

In addition to PostNL, the Vesa fund is the largest shareholder in the British postal company Royal Mail. Vesa increased its stake in Royal Mail earlier this month to 17% from 16 percent. Probably the role here was that the shares could be bought cheaper after the fall in the price. 

The Dutch PostNL post office was privatized in the late 1980s and the state has no share in it. This was followed by the privatization of postal companies in other European countries, such as Germany, Belgium, Austria and the United Kingdom. The company is profitable and pays dividends.

In 2020, it achieved a profit after tax of 213 million euros. In the first half of the year alone, net profit reached 169 million euros.

In addition to shares of PostNL and the British Royal Mail, the Vesa fund also owns a 12 percent stake in the American footwear chain Foot Locker, less than ten percent of shares in the British retail chain Sainsbury’s and about five percent of shares in the French television company TF1.