• Kulczyk’s empire strikes back
  • 15.05.2009


Jan Kulczyk, one of Poland’s wealthiest men worth about 4.5 billion zloty, has just received another income boost, this time from SABMiller plc.


The South African brewer has just acquired the outstanding 28.1 minority interest in its Polish subsidiary, Kompania Piwowarska from Kulczyk Holding SA.   Kulczyk Holding now holds 3.8 percent of SABMiller’s issued share capital, contributing to the liquidity of Kulczyk’s personal wealth, which totals about 1.5 billion USD.


“We are not complaining about a lack of capital, so according to the adopted strategy, we are engaging in the emerging markets in key economic sectors – in seeking raw materials and oil, producing and selling energy, and in infrastructure,” stated the billionaire.


Kulczyk exchanged his shares in Kompania Piwowarska for shares in its parents company SABMiller. This change ends Kulczyk’s 15-year relationship with the Polish beer firm which started in 1993 when the billionaire bought 51 percent of Lech Brewery from the National Treasury.


Two years later, in 1995, SABMiller purchased controlling shares in Lech and then in 1996, the firm bought Tyskie Brewery. In 1999, the two breweries merged into Kompania Piwowarska. Today, the company produces 15.1 million hectalitres of beer annually and makes up 43 percent of Poland’s beer market.


The businessman is not finished investing in completely new markets, however. Several days ago, Kulczyk purchased 58 percent of shares in Pekaes, one of Poland’s largest logistics and transport firms, from AKJ Capital SA Logistyka. AKJ Capital was looking to pull out of the investment scheme after the company satisfactorily finished its restructuring process.


Kulczyk, born in Bydgoszcz, north-central Poland, formed one of the country’s first companies with foreign capital investment, Interkupol. In 1988, the now-billionaire formed the Kulczyk Tradex company, who had a big break in 1992 by selling 1,000 automobiles to the state police force. Mr. Kulczyk made much of his wealth in the early 1990s by buying up shares in companies from the National Treasury through the privatization process. (mmj)