PPF Group, owned by Czech businessman Petr Kellner with investments in banking, telecommunications, engineering and real estate spanning Europe, Asia and the US, has released its financial results for the year ending 31 December 2018, highlighting a 32% increase in revenue derived from telecoms activities to EUR2.415 billion (USD2.69 billion) from EUR1.826 billion in FY 2017. The Group’s PPF Arena subsidiary, which encompasses its investments in the sector through seven companies in six countries in central and eastern Europe (CETIN, O2 Czech Republic including O2 Slovakia and the recently acquired Telenor CEE, see below), said EBITDA climbed to EUR940 million from EUR704 million but net profits fell to EUR233 million from EUR264 million in FY 2017.
In the filing it noted: ‘The Group is strategically positioned in the region, successfully competing with Deutsche Telekom and Telekom Austria. Its scale and geographic diversification helps to shield profitability in the face of any adverse local trends. The transfer of best practice between the operating companies spurs operational efficiencies. Investments in innovation and technology are applied across the CEE markets, driving high quality services and economies of scale … O2 Czech Republic and O2 Slovakia have their own management, business and financial strategies and policies, as the PPF Group treats O2 Group as a financial investment only.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in August 2018 PPF Group completed its acquisition of Telenor Group’s telecommunications assets in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), specifically in Hungary, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia. PPF Group confirmed at the time it had received all the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities and completed all other requisite processes. ‘As a result, PPF Group now holds full control over Telenor’s operations in the aforementioned countries,’ the statement read.
Following the acquisition, PPF Group undertook a major top-management re-organisation within Telenor CEE assets, by appointing new CEOs of individual companies. As at 31 December 2018 Telenor had more than 9.3 million customers across the four CEE countries and employed almost 4,900 people. PPF Group notes the Telenor companies hold leading positions across all markets by revenue market share, being number one in Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro, and number two in Hungary.