Czech Sphinx Daniel Kretinsky bags £220m dividend in energy bonanza

Czech Sphinx Daniel Kretinsky bags £220m dividend in energy bonanza

Czech Sphinx: Daniel Kretinsky

A Czech tycoon with major stakes in Royal Mail and West Ham United is set to pocket nearly £220 million as his European energy conglomerate cashes in on high power costs.

Daniel Kretinsky, pictured right, is known in City circles as the Czech Sphinx due to his inscrutable approach to investing.

He saw profits at his company Energeticky a prumyslovy holding (EPH) jump to £1.7 billion for the first six months of 2023 from £1.1 billion the previous year, despite revenues slipping to £12.9 billion from £13.1 billion in 2022.

EPH controls energy assets across Europe and is a major player in the UK. It owns sites including Ballylumford, Northern Ireland’s largest gas-fired power station, and the Lynemouth biomass power plant in Northumberland.

The billionaire controls 26 per cent of Royal Mail’s parent company, International Distributions Services, as well as nearly 10 per cent of Sainsbury’s through his vehicle Vesa Equity. He also owns a 27 per cent stake in West Ham United.

EPH dished out £438 million in dividends for the first half of this year, according to its latest accounts. This was on top of the £492 million paid in 2022.

Kretinsky controls just over half of the company, which means he is in line for at least a £219 million share of the payout.

The tycoon’s vast fortune is estimated to total around £7.4 billion. His girlfriend Anna Kellnerova is an Olympic showjumper and heiress to the fortune of Petr Kellner, who was said to be the richest men in the Czech Republic before his death in a helicopter crash during a ski trip to Alaska in 2021.