WSE achieves new points record

28 June photo by Marga Santoso on Unsplash
The Warsaw Stock Exchange has seen a lot of activity recently, with Pepco’s debut on the bourse a prime example. This has led to record results on the exchange, including last week’s record of the highest points total in its history. 

The following news items appeared in PT Daily, Poland Today’s daily business newsletter, on Monday 28 June – free to register here

Warsaw bourse achieves new points record

The Warsaw Stock Exchange has achieved the highest points total in its history, reaching 67,941.18 points on the morning of Friday 25 June, as reported in Business Insider. The previous record was set in 2007. All major stock indices increased sharply, with the WIG20, – the main index of the WSE, which includes the 20 largest companies – closed at 2,273.11 points, its highest level since the end of July 2019. Turnover on the WSE amounted to PLN 1.18 bn (EUR 0.26 bn), of which PLN 936 mln (EUR 207 mln) was attributable to WIG20 companies. A major driver was the trade in stocks of Allegro, the Polish online e-commerce platform, according to Polish press agency PAP. There are currently 428 companies listed on the WSE, 381 of which are Polish, PAP says. The total capitalization of companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange is currently over PLN 1.24 trillion (EUR 0.27 trillion). Since the end of 2020, the value of shares of companies listed on the WSE has grown by nearly PLN 176 bn (EUR 38.93 bln), amounting to an increase of over 16%. In Q1 2021, the net profit of the WSE amounted to PLN 38.7 mln (EUR 8.56 mln), a 32.1% y-y growth, but 17.2% less than in Q4 2020.

 

Orlen continues growth with Energa gas-powered plant and opening of new store chain

PKN Orlen, Poland’s preeminent energy giant, is continuing on its stated trajectory to become a bigger business ‘champion’ for Poland on the global stage – and to forestall the inevitable decrease in the need for fossil fuels over time. 

Energa, the electricity supplier bought by Orlen in 2020, has signed a contract with GE Power for the construction of a gas-fired power plant in its Ostrołęka plant instead of a coal-fired one, which is being demolished, according to Business Insider. Ostrołęka is a town c. 125 kms northeast of Warsaw. The contract for the new plant will be carried out on a turnkey basis with construction work due to start by the end of 2021 and ready in 2025.

Meanwhile, PKN Orlen has opened the first of its Orlen W Ruchu (Orlen on the Move) stores in Warsaw. The chain is being touted as a rival to the Żabka convenience store chain and other similar brands. Orlen aims to open c. 900 such stores within 5 years. According to Daniel Obajtek, the Executive Chairman of PKN Orlen, the stores are based in part on the infrastructure of Ruch, the press kiosks company founded in 2018 and whose majority stake was acquired by Orlen in 2020. PKN Orlen also plans to enter the parcel delivery market later this year.  

 

Warsaw-based SonarHome raises EUR 5.6 mln for residential tech sales development in CEE

SonarHome, a realtech startup that aims to help people buy and sell homes by introducing the ‘iBuying’ service to the Polish real estate market, has announced that it has raised EUR 5.6 mln in an equity and debt round of funding, according to tech media platform Silicon Canals. iBuyers are real estate companies that buy and sell properties through technology. The round was led by European VC fund Market One Capital. Besides Market One Capital, the round also saw participation from Kogito Ventures; business angels associated with the real estate industry, including former REA Group Chief Product Officer Andrew Rechtman; Philipp Schomberg from Kingstone Capital; tech entrepreneurs and veteran investors, including Michał Borkowski (co-founder of Brainly); Maciej Noga (co-founder of Pracuj.pl); Marek Cygan (co-founder of Nomagic.ai); and Chris Guzowski (Polipo Ventures).

With the recent funding, SonarHome aims to further develop its automated real-estate valuation technology (utilising AI and Machine Learning), increase the scale of its iBuying and digital brokerage operations and expand to other cities in Central Europe, including Budapest, Bucharest, Bratislava, and Prague. The company is also looking to strengthen its team, hiring automation specialists, BI analysts, developers, and real estate industry professionals.

Founded in 2018 by Mateusz Romanowski, SonarHome is a residential real estate marketplace operating in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the company. It provides homeowners with free valuation and analytical services in Warsaw and more than 50 other Polish cities. The company’s key business lines are a “cash offers” iBuying business, as well as digital-broker services that help homeowners find buyers on the open market. SonarHome claims it is the first company in Poland to offer the iBuying service, which, it says, allows the quick and safe sale of an apartment directly to iBuyer. 

According to Romanowski, “Real estate markets in Central Europe have been going through rapid changes, but it is still difficult for homeowners to sell their properties on the secondary market. Sellers often don’t even know the real value of their real estate. We want to level the playing field and make the whole process easier.”

 

Poland’s unemployment rate continues steady fall

Poland’s registered unemployment rate fell to 6.1% at end-May compared to 6.3% in April, Statistics Poland (GUS) said in a statement. The end-of-May reading comes in line with the earlier 6.1% estimate from the Labour Ministry. In real terms, 1.03 million working age people in Poland were unemployed in May, versus 1.05 million in April. The lowest rate is in Wielkopolskie, capital Poznań, at 3.7%, and the highest was in Warmińsko-Mazurskie, at 9.7%.

 

Poland’s zloty currency ‘forever’?

Poland should keep its own currency “forever”, said National Bank of Poland (NBP) governor Adam Glapiński in an interview with Gazeta Bankowa. “One’s own currency is extremely beneficial for a country that is developing. Thanks to this, we have stable conditions to grow 2-2.5% faster than richer EU countries,” he said. The benefits of adopting the euro may apply to Lithuania, Croatia, Estonia or smaller countries with very open economies, he went on to say, but a country as large as Poland should have their own currency. “If we had the euro, each crisis would bring a greater decline in economic activity, in other words, an increase in unemployment, as in Italy and Spain,” he added.

 

Only 20% of Poles are interested in the Polish Deal, according to survey

71% of Poles have now heard about the Polish Deal (Polski Ład), a government programme aimed at reviving the national economy that was announced mid-May, but only 20% are interested in the proposed solutions, according to a poll by the Public Opinion Research Center (CBOS) and reported by PAP, the Polish news agency. Almost one third (29%) said they have not heard of the programme at all. The survey showed that over two fifths (41%) of respondents who have heard about the Polish Deal believe that the changes in taxes proposed by the government go in the wrong direction, 29% view them positively, and the rest didn’t give an opinion. The poll talked to 1218 adults drawn from the PESEL (national identification number) register. 

According to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the proposed programme will tackle “10 key areas of change”. Among the points listed by the prime minister is an increase in the tax-free allowance to PLN 30,000 (EUR 6,700), tax-free retirement pensions of up to PLN 2,500 (EUR 560), an increase in health expenditure to 7% of GDP, an additional PLN 12,000 (EUR 2,700) bonus for second children.

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Written by: Richard Stephens