Mid Europa Partners (Mid Europa) is to sell its holding company which owns 99.8 per cent of Polskie Koleje Linowe (PKL) to the Polish Development Fund (PFR).
The transaction, which represents the largest private equity exit in the mountain leisure & tourism sector in Poland, is subject to inter alia customary competition authority clearance and is expected to close later this year.
PKL is the largest and the longest established cable car, funicular, ski lift and ski slope service provider in Poland, with presence in seven locations in the Polish mountains, including the flagship operations at the iconic Kasprowy Wierch and Gubałówka in Zakopane, as well as Jaworzyna Krynicka in Krynica-Zdrój.
Matthew Strassberg, Co-Managing Partner of Mid Europa and Co-head of its Warsaw office, says: “Our successful exit from PKL further validates Mid Europa’s focus on investing in and transforming the service levels of the leading, consumer facing businesses in Central Europe. During our ownership, we recruited the new management team and supported their efforts to introduce a service-oriented business model with a tourist-centric commercial strategy. We would like to thank our partners from the Tatra Municipalities for their contribution to the successful transformation of PKL and its positive impact on the entire region.”
Dominika Kozłowska-Łogin, Principal in Mid Europa’s Warsaw office, who led the execution of the transaction, says: “It has been a privilege to work with PKL’s highly talented and motivated management team. By broadening the service offering to include enhanced restaurant offering, ski schools, souvenir shops, concerts and other tourist events, the Company has been able to diversify revenue streams and to invest heavily in digital transformation, changing the way it interfaces with its customers.”
Janusz Ryś, the CEO of PKL, says: “The management team would like to thank Mid Europa for its unique strategic guidance and strong financial commitment which allowed us to transform our business into the undisputed leader in the Polish leisure market. We would also like to extend a warm welcome to our new shareholder, PFR, who we believe is well positioned to continue to support PKL’s ambitious growth strategy given its mandate and long-term horizon.”
Rothschild & Co acted as exclusive financial adviser to Mid Europa, CMS as its legal counsel and PwC and EY as transaction services advisors.
The transaction was executed by Dominika Kozłowska-Łogin, Marek Rodak and Przemysław Krenczyk with the support of Zbigniew Rekusz, Mid Europa’s Senior Advisor, who originally sourced the investment and has remained responsible for its monitoring.