1st Congress of Polish Capital – A report

The Polish Capital Congress took place on 5 December in Warsaw, at the seat of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. This is the largest all-day event in Poland, organised to let entrepreneurs who are capital recipients exchange experiences and contacts with their donors – PE, VC, TFI funds. Among the gathered participants of the event there were also representatives of the Polish Cluster of Construction Exporters.

The event was divided into a plenary part and thematic sessions. The main panel was devoted to the definition of capital with particular emphasis on how to interpret the currently popular slogan of “Polish capital”. The interpretations were contributed by Paweł Borys, President of the Board of the Polish Development Fund, Zbigniew Jagiełło, President of the Board of PKO BP, Michał Krupiński, President of the Board of PZU, Michał Chałaczkiewicz, partner of Montagu Private Equity in London, Jacek Socha, Vice-President and partner of PwC, and Adam Niewiński, Vice-President of the Board of PEKAO SA.

According to the panelists, capital is not only money, but also intellect, people’s skills and creativity. It is important that companies develop using the capital defined in this way, and that they draw knowledge from their experience and break certain stereotypes, one of which is distrust and lack of openness to merging similar in size and potential companies into large entities, which would present greater opportunities for their faster progress. Large companies are a chance for expansion, takeover and building an international brand. If this is the case, the decision-makers of these companies will be in Poland, not abroad.  This will complement the definition of the term of “Polish capital”.

The second plenary session “Polish entrepreneurs and their companies. Self-developed or assisted by investors”, was devoted to sharing the experience of owners of large private companies in building business value. The panellists who presented their development paths and discussed the factors that guided them in making decisions and choosing the sources of financing for development included Michał Sołowow (Synthos), Jerzy Starak (Polpharma), Adam Góral (Asseco), and Piotr Krupa (Kruk SA).

The debate has shown that such decisions are inspired by a given moment, and they are not possible to be explained uniformly. It all depends on the project, risk scale and the ability to define it, as well as the current macro and microeconomic situation. Knowledge of the market, economic calculation, the ability to estimate the risk scale are all to be taken into account in the final application for funds. Selecting a source, issuing, bonds or credit, remains a matter of individual approach that each speaker adopted for the companies they managed.

The plenary sessions were followed by thematic meetings divided into three sessions per each theme. All aspects of the capital market were presented, the principles of cooperation between partners in case of acquiring a passive financial investor were explained, and the possibilities of financing acquisitions and development using various sources of capital were discussed.

The meeting provided entrepreneurs with useful information they were looking for, namely, opportunities for the development of a company through its recapitalisation, finding a way to strengthen its capital and thus accelerate the growth of value and market share. The organizers of the 1st Polish Capital Congress were the editors of Forbes, who deserve our thanks for their initiative and congratulations for making it possible to obtain knowledge from the best ones.

Comment by Andrzej Kozłowski, Vice-President of PCOCE