Prague, Czech Republic – Three Slovaks and seven Czechs, all men aged between 43 and 64 years old, were listed this year in the annual Forbes ranking of the world’s richest people and billionaires.
Forbes reported exactly 2.153 billionaires on the planet, 55 fewer than one year ago. They represent a total wealth of roughly 8.7 trillion dollars and around 46% of them have become “poorer” than last year. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos remains the richest man in the world, followed by Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Bernard Arnault and Carlos Slim Helu.
Here’s the 2019 Czecho-Slovak promotion of billionaires.
1. Petr Kellner – Czech Republic
Petr Kellner, 54, is the richest man in the Czech Republic and 73rd richest man in the world, with an accumulated fortune of 15.5 billion dollars. After starting an investment fund to buy a controlling stake in the biggest Czech insurance company during the privatization years, Kellner became the owner of the PPF Group, a giant conglomerate which includes Home Credit, a large consumer finance firm, as well as telecoms company O2 Czech Republic and PPF Bank.
2. Andrej Babis – Slovakia / Czech Republic
Andrej Babis, the 64-year-old Slovak-born current Czech Prime Minister, is the richest Slovak and second richest man in the Czech Republic, ranking 617th richest man in the world with a fortune of 3.5 billion dollars (down from 4.6 billion last year), according to Forbes.
His wealth comes from Agrofert, a giant conglomerate operating more than 200 companies in agriculture, energy or media, to name only a few. In 2013, he launched the ANO political movement, giving up daily management of Agrofert, before moving his ownership of the company into a trust to comply with new anti conflict of interest legislation. Minister of Finance in the previous government, he was elected Prime Minister of the Czech Republic in 2017, but is still facing allegations and under investigation for alleged misuse of EU funds and conflict of interest.
3. Radovan Vitek – Czech Republic
With an estimated wealth of 3.5 billion dollars, Radovan Vitek, 47, is tied with PM Andrej Babis as the 617th richest man on the planet. Real estate mogul and owner of the CPI Property Group, he owns property all over Europe, including Germany, Hungary, Croatia, France and Poland, and also got his start during the controversial voucher privatization in Slovakia in the 1990’s. In the trivia section, Radovan Vitek owns an 260-acre estate in England that used to belong to former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.
4. Karel Komarek – Czech Republic
After building a fortune with his family during the Czech Republic’s privatization process in the 1990’s, Karel Komarek formed the KKCG conglomerate. More recently, the 49 years old Czech businessman formed the Sazka Group and became the largest lottery owner in Europe, bought Croatia’s largest sports betting operator last year and has also started investing in methanol production in the U.S. He ranks as the 715th richest man in the world with a fortune of 3.1 billion dollars. He owns a house in Prague and in Palm Beach, Florida.
5. Daniel Kretinsky – Czech Republic
Trailing slightly behind, Daniel Kretinsky has a net worth of 2.9 billion dollars, ranking 775th most wealthy individual on the planet. The owner of giant energy conglomerate EPH, the biggest energy group in Central Europe which employs over 25.000 people. Kretinsky, 43, also has assets in various other sectors, and owns several media groups across Europe, including in France. He’s the co-owner of football club Sparta Prague and might also, according to reports, be interested in taking over Italy’s AS Roma. His girlfriend is 22-year-old Anna Kellnerova, daughter of Petr Kellner (see above). It is a small world after all…
6. Ivan Chrenko – Slovakia
Owner and board chairman of development company HB Reavis, Ivan Chrenko, aged 51, has an estimated wealth of 1.6 billion dollars, making him the second richest man in Slovakia and placing him at the 1.425th rank worldwide. Having mainly invested in real estate since the early 1990’s, his company developed the first business centers in Bratislava, is constructing one of the tallest buildings in Europe in Warsaw and has invested in real estate all over Europe.
7. Pavel Baudis – Czech Republic
With a net worth estimated at 1.4 billion dollars, Pavel Baudis ranks as the 1.605th richest man in the world. The 58-year-old software engineer wrote his first anti-virus program in 1988 and co-founded, along with Eduard Kucera, Avast, now one of the world leading developers of anti-virus programs in charge of securing online operations for nearly half a billion users. The company is now managed by an outside CEO. Would you like to know how Avast went from being a small Czechoslovak cooperative to one of the world leaders in cyber-security ?
8. Pavel Tykac – Czech Republic
With an estimated worth of 1.4 billion dollars, energy and real estate investor Pavel Tykac is the 1.605th richest man on the planet. He made his fortune in the 1990’s after founding, along with four partners, Motoinvest, specializing in the hostile takeovers of companies during the Czech Republic’s privatization program.
9. Jaroslav Haščák – Slovakia
Third and last Slovak billionaire, Jaroslav Haščák is the co-founder of the Czecho-Slovak financial conglomerate Penta Investments. With a wealth of 1 billion dollars, he’s placed 2.057th richest man on the planet. Penta Group is involved in a wide variety of sectors, from media to real estate, banking, industry and healthcare. It owns the network of pharmacies Dr. Max and has a controlling stake in the sports betting operator Fortuna.
He went into business with Penta co-founder Mark Dospiva (see below), when both men, while studying in Beijing, started importing Chinese textiles to Czechoslovakia. Penta rose to prominence during Slovakia’s 1996 privatization, when it acquired the country’s biggest fund for only a minority of its real market value. Jaroslav Haščák, 49, is also famous for the very competitive culture he implemented within the company, called System Up or Out and “designed to get rid of weak performers”, as Forbes explains.
10. Marek Dospiva – Czech Republic
Tied with Penta partner Jaroslav Haščák at the 2.057th rank of Forbes richest people list, Marek Dospiva, 49 years old, also has a net worth of 1 billion dollars. He co-founded an co-managed Penta Investment with Jaroslav Haščák. A sports car enthusiast, he also co-owns Ferrari and Maserati dealerships in the Czech Republic.