Polish Business Survey

Alan Heath
18-05-2000, 00:00

Polish Business Survey

Ahoj investing PLN80-100m

In the next two years Mother.Ship Poland, managing the Ahoj.pl portal, will be investing between PLN80 - 100m. This will be used to build up the content on the site.

Ahoj. pl was set up last week. It is the sixth largest Polish portal after Onet, Wirtualna Polsce, Interia, Yoyo i Arena. It was founded by Tomasz Raczek and Rafał Sokół as well as two Americans Jeff Grady and Mark Grazman, who are involved in investment funds and financial institutions in Poland. Funds have been obtained in the USA and investors include Greg Rigdon production director at America On-Line and Steve Gerard, international marketing boss at Citibank.

Unlike its competitors Ahoj is not trying to build up its brand through advertisements in other media.

Tomasz Raczek, programming boss at Ahoj.pl says that the service is not a search engine but has its own content. It does not need to send its clients to other sites.

Currently there are nine thematic canals on Ahoj.pl and a further three are being elaborated. The portal offers free electronic mail with 30MB storage and a number of discussion forums. Mother.Ship has taken over several thematic services such as pai.pl, basket.pl, linuxnews.pl and employs 80 journalists and 50 other employees. It is hoping to have advertisements on its site within six months and then e-commerce services.

Techmex seeks bourse entry

Bielsko-Biała based Techmex, one of the major distributors of computer hardware is hoping to enter the Warsaw stock market. A prospectus will be prepared next month and the share issue will be in September or October. It is also investing in a technology centre to be built to the north of Bielso-Biała.

Zasada may merge with Pol-Mot

On the 18 May auto component manufacturer Zasada left the stock market. The reasons for this were that the company failed to obtain sufficient capital, was forced to make public development plans and the high cost of auditing by Arthur Andersen. In the opinion of Franciszek Gaika, MD of Zasada SA, the company will not be sold and may fuse with Pol-Mot Holding. At the same time it will continue to seek investors from the same sector for the Jelcz and Autosan coach concerns.

Buyer sought for match producer

The Silesian provincial office has until the end of next month to decide on who will buy the Zakłady Przemysłu Zapałczanego in Czechowice-Dziedzicach, the largest match producer in Poland. It is rumoured that there are four companies interested: Swedish Match, KM Zźndholz International Karl Mźller GmbH, Częstochowskie Zakłady Przemysłu Zapałczanego - the only privatised match producer in this country as well as a Polish capital fund.

Eugeniusz Kałamarz, MD of Częstochowskich Zakładów Zapałczanych thinks that this is the one chance that his company will get to have a nationwide audience.

The largest company in the world is Swedish Match who for the last two years have been trying to get a presence in Poland. There are fears that the Swedes are interested in asset stripping, removing the competition by force of numbers and then closing the factories.

Other match producers in Poland include ZPZ Polmatch from Sianów near Koszalin, Bystrzycka Zapałka in south west Poland and the Italian Euromatch who largely export to the EU.

Two armed bandits vote

Next week MPs should vote on whether or not to adopt a 45 percent tax on gaming machine income. The law should also define what is or is not a gaming machine. Furthermore advertising in this sector is to be banned.

One company, two bosses

At tomorrowŐs AGM of the Kraków based cable plant Krakowska Fabryki Kabli a decision may be taken concerning the liquidation of the company. Trade unions representing the employees have already registered their protest against the liquidation of the company with the local court. The company is owned by Tele-Fonika. One of the owners of this company is Zbigniew Urban who is the MD of KFK but he has not been allowed on the premises of the company by Marek Markiewicz who is de facto MD. The AGM will be held tomorrow and this could lead to a change in the board of directors which, in the opinion of Adam Wrona of the trade union, could lead to the dissolution of the company.

PZU Życie ups profits

In the first quarter of this year life assurer PZU Życie collected over PLN1bn from clients. Profits were over PLN182.5m, around PLN60m more than last year, largely aided by the sale of shares in BIG Bank Gdański and Bank Handlowe.

© ℗
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Podpis: Alan Heath

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