Ex-PPF man hoards distressed assets

Ex-PPF man hoards distressed assets
1. září 2016 • 11:44
Karel Pražák, a financier and former close associate of wealthiest Czech Petr Kellner, has launched the ‘hot phase’ of building Kaprain, his own business empire. In recent months, Pražák has succeeded in acquiring the Prague Eye Chodov skyscrapers project, an office building project on Prague-Dejvice’s Vítězné square and the Mercury shopping mall in České Budějovice. He now also has his sights set on industrial enterprises and media ventures.

“I have accumulated considerable experience in the past 20 years in restructuring distressed assets so whenever a promising acquisition appears on this horizon I am happy to give it a good look. It does not matter whether it is a sports facility, shopping centre or an IT firm,” the tycoon told E15 daily.

The term “distressed asset” is used to describe a business in trouble. The trouble can relate to its finances, shareholders who are unable to find common ground or even authorities who are unwilling to issue necessary permits. Clashes with authorities stalled several extensive real estate projects pursued by Kellner’s PPF Group, which were subsequently sold to Pražák. PPF spent years trying to convince relevant authorities to approve its Vítězné square and Prague-Chodov projects.

Real estate is clearly a focal point for Pražák. Where the Vítězné square project is concerned, he has already announced a JV with investment group Penta. “In terms of real estate and development projects, I currently manage nearly 20 undertakings at various stages of progress. I can see a similar approach being applied in the case of the Prague Eye Towers in Prague 11 [Chodov].”

Pražák, meanwhile, has made forays into media. Antitrust authority ÚOHS recently gave its approval for a rearrangement of the ownership structure of cable TV’s Nej TV in favour of Kaprain. Pražák declined to comment on this investment as negotiations remained under way and agreements were yet to be signed.

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