(1996 – 2013)
Česká pojišťovna is one of the companies that have the longest tradition on the Czech market. The company’s history dates back to 1827, when its predecessor, První česká vzájemná pojišťovna, was established. Post-1948, it established itself as Československá státní pojišťovna, the only institution of its kind in Czechoslovakia, a position it retained for a long time, and which also held enormous potential for the company’s successful development after 1989. Unfortunately, Česká pojišťovna’s then management failed to take advantage of this prominent position, both commercially and financially. Despite the potential opportunities that the strong market position gave the company, Česká pojišťovna made considerable losses at that time and its rigid approach to services and unfriendly approach to customers, inherited from the Communist era, were damaging the company. It also lacked a long-term strategy and efficient organisation, its investment portfolio was of poor quality, and its financial and operating reporting was also unsatisfactory.
In 1996, PPF bought into Česká pojišťovna, with the objective of changing its obsolete structure and building a strong company through efficient management. The gradual transformation of Česká pojišťovna, a process that took several years, was so successful that the company attracted the attention of Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. (“Generali”). The result was the establishment of Generali PPF Holding, a joint venture between Generali (with a 51% stake) and PPF Group (49%), in which Česká pojišťovna became the key asset. Following many years of successful co-operation, which has given rise to one of the biggest players in the Central and Eastern European insurance market, with profitability outperforming its competitors, in early 2013 the partners agreed that Generali would buy PPF’s stake in two tranches. By the end of 2014, Generali will therefore become the owner of the 100% equity interest in Generali PPF Holding.
“The agreement with Generali marks the end of an important stage for PPF. The agreement, together with the dividends received over the past five years, represents an excellent return on our initial investment. The transaction is therefore in fact a culmination of 16 years of work that began by our acquisition of Česká pojišťovna. In addition, we are retaining the key insurance companies in the CIS countries, which fit very well within our rapidly growing business in financial services.”
Petr Kellner, founder and majority shareholder of PPF Group