Bakala continues slide down Czech wealth ranking while usual suspects hold firm

By bne IntelliNews October 5, 2016

The ongoing woes of controversial Czech financier and media mogul Zdenek Bakala are borne out by the Forbes 60 Richest Czechs 2016 list, released on October 5. However, the rest of the top spots remain held by the usual suspects, including perhaps the country's most powerful politician at number 2, and illustrate the close relations that persist between business and politics.

Former “coal baron” Bakala, hit by the collapse of miner OKD, slid one more place down the rankings to number seven in this year's list. Once a dollar billionaire, his assets are now estimated at around CZK20bn (around $826m), down CZK2bn from 2015, according to Forbes

The fall of Bakala has been accelerated by the fact that his dealings with one of the country's biggest employers have made him so unpopular as to be untouchable by any political figure. Amid ongoing campaigning for regional elections, the already universally unpopular oligarch was tarred by populist President Milos Zeman as a bogeyman of the liberal elite.

Petr Kellner, owner of PPF financial group, remains way out in front in the rankings, with around CZK255bn to his name, according to Forbe's estimate. That represents a CZK35bn increase year on year, partly driven by cheap loans amid record-low interest rates and robust Czech economic growth. Kellner is speculated to have major influence within the coalition leading Social Democrats. Meanwhile, his connections in China via his Home Credit Bank unit have seen him working closely with Zeman in the president's high profile push to increase business ties with Beijing.

Such potential for corruption is what second-placed Andrej Babis - finance minister and owner of conglomerate Agrofert - claimed had pushed him into starting his populist Ano party. The likely next PM saw his fortune swell by CZK6bn to hit CZK70bn. That's the sort of data that supported parliament's recent passing of conflict of interest legislation - dubbed “Lex Babis” - clamping down on company ownership by members of the government.

Third in the top 60 is Karel Komarek, the entrepreneur behind the KKCG investment group and the largest Czech oil and gas production company Moravske naftove doly. His assets moved up CZK8bn to CZK49bn, Forbes estimates. Komarek, however, was in a photo finish with fourth-placed CPI Property Group business chief Radovan Vitek. His assets were also recorded at CZK49bn, but compared to CZK47bn last year.

Related Articles

Poland isolated again as it threatens to block EU declaration

Poland will not sign the Rome Declaration if its demands for moulding the EU’s future are not reflected in the document, Prime Minister Beata Szydlo threatened on March 23. The statement could ... more

EU asks CEE to comment on Russian gas promises

The European Commission has invited comments from Central & Eastern European states on proposals put forward by Russian gas giant Gazprom to meet competition concerns. Visegrad and the Baltic ... more

Poland struggles in bid to oust Tusk

The Polish government spent March 6 canvassing for support for its alternative candidate for the European Council presidency to compatriot Donald Tusk. However, it met little success, even in its own ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss