The Home Credit Group, which provides consumer loans, had to halve the number of employees in the world after last year’s decline, ie about 60,000. In an interview with the Seznam Zprávy server, this was stated by Ladislav Bartoníček, who was entrusted with managing the PPF Group to which Home Credit belongs. At the same time, he did not rule out further acquisitions of companies in telecommunications or media.
Home Credit on your the web states that by mid-2019 it had over 123,000 employees. Last year, it fell to a loss of 15.3 billion crowns due to the crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
“We responded by dramatically cutting operating costs in China, significantly reducing the volume of new business and focusing on clients with a much better risk profile to keep the risk under control,” Bartoníček told the server. “Quite dramatically, we are moving into the form of a fintech company rather than a classic stone provider of consumer loans,” he added.
According to Bartoníček, consumer loans and financial services in general were affected by the effects of the covidu-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on the movement of people. “But to a large extent, this is offset by other businesses (PPF groups). Telecommunications are an extremely stabilizing element and the Mall Group, ie online sales, is also working well at the moment, which is such a blessing in disaster. Škoda Transportation, which we took over in a not quite simple situation, it is now filled with orders like never before, which is the main thing for this type of company, “he described the situation at PPF.
In addition to China, Home Credit also operates in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia, Kazakhstan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. According to Bartoníček, the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, which began to spread in China in December 2019, will not affect the expansion of Home Credit in Asia. “There are several things that coincided in China. On the one hand, it is the impact of the covid pandemic, and on the other hand, the influence of regulation, which has changed quite significantly in China and complicated our business model,” he said. “And it’s always been a complicated market, but on the other hand, it’s an amazing opportunity,” he added.
Home Credit originally considered listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, it stopped preparations at the end of 2019. “At the moment, no specific project is running, which does not rule out that we will not deal with it systematically,” Bartoníček said now.
The connection with Moneta will be decided in a matter of weeks
PPF also returned to its merger plan with Moneta Money Bank, which it launched once in 2018, in January this year. He wants to merge Moneta with his bank Air Bank, Home Credit and also with the Zonky brand. PPF therefore offered Moneta shareholders a share repurchase. In the PPF proposal, it stated that it had a share of 0.63 percent in Moneta. Once the transaction is settled, PPF should own over 28 percent of Moneta’s shares. In the event of an planned increase in PPF’s stake in Moneta, the group must submit information to the Czech National Bank on the actual end owners of PPF. According to Bartoníček, however, the changes after Kellner’s death will not affect the planned increase in the share in Moneta.
“Especially in this case, the central bank approves the real end owners, but we believe that nothing will be complicated,” Bartoníček told the server. “Furthermore, it is important to say that we agree with the family that nothing is changing in the projects that are running. And in general, as far as the operation of PPF is concerned, the family’s will is to fulfill Peter’s legacy,” he added.
However, Bartoníček did not want to answer questions about Kellner’s will and inheritance proceedings. “We assume that the group of heirs is known and defined, and other things related to inheritance proceedings and related processes are the sovereign things of the family,” he said. He also declined to comment on speculation that billionaire Daniel Křetínský, a partner of Kellner’s daughter Anna Kellner, could become a family representative at PPF. Bartoníček stated that he now communicates on behalf of Kellner’s family with Kellner’s wife Renáta Kellnerová.
According to Bartoníček, the change in the ownership structure of PPF has no effect on relations with creditors or business partners. “In the contracts, all the clauses are set up in such a way that it does not jeopardize our relationship. I think the counterparties are at ease. so, “he told the server.
In the interview, Bartoníček also indicated PPF’s interest in further acquisitions of telecommunications companies in Europe, and according to him, purchases of other media are also possible. “If there is an interesting opportunity,” he said. Now PPF includes, for example, the operator O2 or TV Nova. PPF wants to expand paid services in the media. “Our Voyo service (paid video library of TV Nova) is growing quite nicely for us and we definitely want to strengthen,” said Bartoníček. According to him, the current operation of Voyo and digital television O2 TV also makes sense. “At the moment, we are discussing how to put the platforms together so that they complement each other and work,” he added.
Petr Kellner, who owned over 98 percent of PPF’s shares, died in a helicopter crash in Alaska on March 27. Bartoníček has a 0.535 percent stake in PPF and the current CEO of Home Credit, Jean-Pascal Duvieusart, has the same stake.
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