Polish Stocks Drop on Report of Possible Management Shakeups

  • CEOs at PKN, PZU, Enea, Energa may resign, Puls Biznesu says
  • WIG20 at six-year low and is worst-performing index globally

Shares in some of Poland’s biggest state-controlled utilities and the top insurer fell, pushing Warsaw’s main index to the lowest in more than six years, after newspapers reported a slew of management shakeups by the new government.

The chief executive officers of oil company PKN Orlen SA, insurer PZU SA and utilities Tauron Polska Energia SA, Enea SA and Energa SA may either be replaced or step down, TVN24 broadcaster and newspapers Puls Biznesu and Parkiet reported. The benchmark WIG20 index dropped as much as 3.2 percent and traded down 3.1 percent as of 3:23 p.m. in Warsaw, the worst-performing index worldwide. PZU slumped 5.9 percent to lowest in three years. Energa, Poland’s third-biggest utility, fell 6.3 percent, while Orlen lost 3.7 percent. 

Taking a cue from the actions of previous administrations, the cabinet of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, has set its eyes on state-controlled companies since taking office on Nov. 18. Companies have already called shareholders’ meetings to discuss supervisory board changes, seen as a step towards changing managements. The first from a state-controlled listed company to step down was Pawel Tamborski, the head of the Warsaw Stock Exchange, who announced his decision on Thursday.

“Investors are surprised how fast these changes are taking place,” Dariusz Gorski, an analyst at Bank Zachodni WBK SA in Warsaw, said by phone. “The fact that top executives are leaving suggests that these companies may alter their strategies, posing another risk when markets are already tough.”

PKN Orlen, PZU, WIG Decline
PKN Orlen, PZU, WIG Decline

Polish government bonds also fell on Friday, extending a decline from the previous day sparked by comments from ECB President Mario Draghi on extending euro-area monetary stimulus, which failed to live up to market expectations. The yield on the country’s 10-year note rose seven basis points to 2.90 percent at 3:14 p.m. in Warsaw after surging 17 basis points on Thursday. The zloty rose 0.3 percent to 4.3159 per euro, paring Thursday’s 1.5 percent slide to the weakest level since January.

Andrzej Klesyk, who has been heading PZU for eight years, may resign next week from the top post at Poland’s largest insurer as he has no backing from the new government, Puls Biznesu reported on Friday. The PZU supervisory board is scheduled to discuss management changes on Dec. 8, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

The CEO of Enea, Krzysztof Zamasz and Energa CEO Andrzej Tersa may also leave their posts, Puls said. The supervisory board of Tauron, Poland’s second-biggest utility, may change the management board at a meeting this month, Parkiet newspaper reported.

Orlen Replacement

Wojciech Jasinski, the Law & Justice lawmaker who heads parliament’s finance committee, is said to replace Jacek Krawiec as the chief of Orlen, TVN24 reported on its website Thursday.

PZU spokesman Michal Witkowski and Enea spokesman Slawomir Krenczyk declined to comment. Energa spokesman Jakub Dusza didn’t answer two attempts to reach him by phone Friday. Jasinski didn’t respond to two calls to his mobile on Thursday.

Michal Krupinski, an executive at Bank of America Inc. and former deputy treasury minister may replace Klesyk, Puls said. Wieslaw Piosik of Enea’s supervisory board may replace Zamasz as CEO, while Roman Pionkowski may become Energa acting CEO, according to Puls.

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