Czech Billionaire Kretinsky to Control 94% of Power Utility EPH

  • Kretinsky will boost shareholding following reshuffle
  • EPH has expanded into U.K., Italian, German Power Plants

Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky will control 94 percent of Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding AS following the sale of a minority stake in its infrastructure unit and a subsequent shareholder reshuffle.

Kretinsky, who serves as the energy group’s chairman, struck a deal with J&T investment group and EPH co-founder and fellow billionaire Patrik Tkac, who will receive 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion) to 2.7 billion euros plus interest over the coming years, EPH said in an e-mailed statement. The remaining 6 percent in the company will be controlled by selected EPH managers, the company said.

The planned reshuffle follows an announcement that EPH agreed to sell a 30 percent stake in its energy infrastructure unit to a consortium of companies led by Macquarie Infrastructure Corp. EPH was originally planning to list the infrastructure unit on the Prague and London stock exchanges before opting for a private investor.

“This transaction will make it possible to fulfill my long-term ambition and my key colleagues in EPH will get the opportunity to participate in the shareholding of EPH,” Kretinsky said in the statement. The payment schedule will allow EPH “further growth via acquisitions,” he said.

Over the past few years, the Prague-based company has transformed itself from a regional operator of Czech and Slovak heating and power plants into a sizable European energy group. After buying coal and gas power stations in Italy and the U.K., as well as a stake in Slovak utility Slovenske Elektrarne from Enel SpA, it increased its generation capacity by acquiring a fleet of German lignite mines and power stations from Vattenfall AB.

EPIF, the infrastructure unit, operates heating plants and natural gas storage sites in the Czech Republic, as well as a gas pipeline and energy-distribution assets in neighboring Slovakia. It had a net income of 622.7 million euros last year and assets worth 9.7 billion euros.