One example of capitalism’s revolutionary success is in Poland, where 20 years ago Dr Jan Kulczyk created the Kulczyk group to shape and drive a new world of capital formation and economic integration. What we as a nation and private business have achieved together continues to influence the course of our economic strength and growth at home, as well as our investment strategy.
In the early years of Poland’s transition from the second to first world, Kulczyk Investments built an international reputation based on facilitating the movement of resources, expertise and capital stimulus from the public to private sectors. Today we are seen among the best-known and top rated investment companies in the world, making our name in funding public and private transactions, accumulating financial capital, imaginative sourcing of deals, and starting new businesses predicated on national improvement.
Establishing new enterprises and stimulating new capital, alongside working with the world’s best partners, has created a powerful platform for our international expansion.
Global player; local focus
Today Kulczyk Investments has an active presence in four continents – working in Eastern Europe, Africa, America and the Middle East – and has invested more than $3bn in a wide range of sectors and industries. We are the only company with Polish origin to have reached the position of truly global player.
One in every five cars bought today in Poland is sold by one of Kulczyk Investments’ subsidiaries. Soon Poles will be driving on new motorways – the first in the country’s history to be privately financed – constructed with Kulczyk’s international partners from Germany and Spain. This new infrastructure was built in record time and equips Poland with roads engineered for the future – indeed the European Investment Bank praised Kulczyk’s work as a model for pace, implementation and environmental concern, and the EU made a record investment with us. Fans watching the Euro 2012 football championships in Poland may enjoy a glass or two of beer manufactured by Kompania Piwowarska, Europe’s largest brewing company, a subsidiary of SABMiller in which Kulczyk holds a significant share.
New technology for natural resources
Kulczyk Investments’ core focus continues to be natural resources: one of our group’s key missions for 2011-12 is to keep building on our record of productivity in the energy business. Our aim is to create a privately-run national energy champion – Poland’s first – to be based in Warsaw and operate with international partners. We continue to make progress on this endeavour, which included successful listings with our energy partners of ventures on the Warsaw and London stock exchanges, including London’s Alternative Investment Market.
The group’s investment in the energy sector began in 2000, when Polenergia was established. The company engages in a broad range of services, including power and gas distribution, wholesale electric energy, and the construction of energy infrastructure, landfill gas power plants and wind farms. In 2010 Kulczyk acquired Elektrociepłownia Nowa Sarzyna, one of the most technically advanced gas-fuelled power plants in Poland. The company has also begun the construction of a conventional power plant in the north of Poland. Kulczyk’s energy trading business, based in Prague, deals with trading in energy and energy carriers internationally.
The group also operates in the exploration and production of fossil fuels. The first global investment undertaken in the sector was the acquisition of shares in Ophir Energy, a company carrying out 17 offshore exploration and production projects in seven African jurisdictions. Kulczyk holds shares in Aurelian Oil & Gas, a company exploring for unconventional gas in Central Europe, as well as Kulczyk Oil Ventures, a production and exploration company which has recently won a tender to acquire rights to oil fields disposed of by Shell in Nigeria. The group also owns shares in Strata, a company focused on natural resources exploration in Africa.
We continue to seek out public and private initiatives that strengthen our position in the market as well as contribute to the growth of our region.
Our newly formed international joint venture with New York’s Larry Silverstein, founder of one of the world’s most respected real estate investment companies, has the potential to generate greater economic activity, investment and social development for Central and Eastern Europe. Just as exciting is the creation last year by Jan Kulczyk of a new think-tank called CEED – Central and Eastern Europe Development. The core aim of CEED is to help promote business development, growth and regional competitiveness – proclaiming the virtues of doing business in the region, emphasising its attractions and accomplishments, and highlighting the differences between Central and Eastern Europe and the South European countries, long embroiled in the sovereign debt crisis.
As an international investment house, we feel compelled to create optimal conditions for social and economic development, wherever we invest.
Based on many years of experience investing in international markets, Kulczyk Investments together with Forbes Magazine, the Warsaw Stock Exchange and Deloitte, initiated a ground-breaking project to create Poland’s first stock exchange index of socially responsible companies – the Respect Index.
Since 2006, Jan Kulczyk has been involved in the activities of Green Cross International, an organisation focusing on ecological safety. As Chairman of GCI he fulfils a special objective: to create an international platform for governments, environmental activists and business people to work together.
Jarosław Sroka, Board Member, Corporate Communication and International Relations Director of Kulczyk Investments