Polish Business Survey

Alan Heath
27-07-2000, 00:00

Polish Business Survey

Doom and gloom

Last week was a very long time ago and depression has once again returned to the Warsaw stock market. Yesterday again, was a disappointing day which only went to suggest that we could be in for a long term depression with no optimistic signals. Even TPSAŐs coup of signing up with France Telecom did nothing to help and the companyŐs shares fell by 2.1 percent.

Swedes want share in bank

Kredyt Bank and Rolmex are talking to Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken concerning the sale of their shares in Bank Ochrony Środowisko. This is despite an attempt by the former two companies to force BOŚ to accept their candidates on its board. If they do sell their shares, they can expect a return in the region of 78 percent over what they paid – a profit for Kredyt Bank of PLN120.8m and PLN45.9m for Rolmex.

E-auction site to come

An initiative of the Polish Chamber of Commerce will lead to the foundation of a company dealing with e-commerce this autumn. The company would handle internet based auctions. The company will have a start-up capital of PLN2m.

Sweet tooth

It seems very likely that Cloetta Fazer, which was formed following the merger of two Scandinavian chocolate producers, may make a bid to obtain a strategic share of Bydgoszcz based Jutrzenka.

Mining restructuring planned

Andrzej Karbownik, deputy economy minister responsible for reform of the mining industry is hoping to speed up work on the creation of two mining and one mine restructuring companies. This would mean that next year there would only be two companies extracting coal.

Plans for the consolidation of the sector from the present seven companies are not yet known but three possible solutions seem likely based on location, extraction and financial results. Clearly jobs will go and it is rumoured that every manager over 50 could be forced to retire although no-one in the treasury was willing to comment on this.

AXA targets Warta

The AGM of insurer Warta is planned for 23 August and a decision to issue new shares could be made. Some of these could end up in the hands of a branch investor and all the evidence suggests that it will be the French AXA.

Problems ahead for TPSA

The four week delay in signing the sales contract for a 35 percent share in former telephone monopoly TPSA does not bode well for the future. Rumours are now circulating as to the cause of the delay. One is that the French were unwilling to commit on investments in rural areas, others mention a conflict between the treasury and Polish Kulczyk Holding and yet another questions the lack of an award of a UMTS concession.

Emil Wąsacz, heading the treasury said that TPSA could expect to receive a concession at market conditions alongside anyone else who wanted to apply for one. However, he did concede, as did FTŐs MD Michel Bon that the delay was caused by the details of the contract.

The social packet that employees can expect is also open to question. Marek Mądrzyk, a member of the telecommunications workers section of trade union Solidarność said that he did not know what to expect from FT.

The unions have only been able to guarantee 40 months of current employment levels and redundancy pay is less than half of what they wanted. Furthermore there will be no privatisation bounty for the staff.

Marek Mądrzyk also questions FTŐs lack of interest in rural areas and questions the future of the company if it is only going to fight for market share in the urban agglomerations.

Analysts consider that one of the first things the new owners should do is to cut costs and cut those business areas that are not profitable. However potential conflicts with the unions may make any changes impossible. Finally FT is going to have to hurry. The market will be liberalised in 2002 and then it will have to compete with other major global concerns. Andrzej Piotrowski, of the Adam Smith Institute says that the treasury does not have cause to celebrate the cash it got from the French. FT paid PLN38 per share, only 16 percent more than the average price over the past three months for stocks traded on the bourse. Of course only six months ago FT was only willing to pay PLN23 per share.

Synergia 99 seeks more cash

In the autumn Radom based Synergia 99, who is hoping to develop the site of the Gdańsk shipyard, is aiming to increase its capitalisation. It has been rumoured that TDA Capital Partners might take all the new shares issued.

© ℗
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Podpis: Alan Heath

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