CZ/SK verze

Đuro Đaković on the way out of problems exclusively with Czech industrialists Strnad and Matera

Đuro Đaković on the way out of problems exclusively with Czech industrialists Strnad and Matera
photo: Đuro Đaković/Đuro Đaković
18 / 02 / 2021

The predominantly state-controlled company Đuro Đaković officially announced at the Zagreb Stock Exchange that based on the evaluation of the bids received so far, they would continue negotiations only with the Czech company DD Acquisition owned by armourer Jaroslav Strnad and businessman René Matera.

The good relations between the Czechoslovaks and the Croats lasted for at least half a century. During the years of Iron Curtain, the best conceivable destination for a summer holiday by the sea was Yugoslavia. Today's businessmen do not act out of nostalgia, but good relations between entire nations can help big business, especially if the state has a stake in it or if there is an interest in promoting employment in the region.

We have already informed about two deals of Czech and Slovak businessmen in Croatia. The Slovak Budamar group and its subsidiary Tatravagonka intends to restart full production at TŽV Gredelj with large investment, and two entrepreneurs in engineering, Jaroslav Strnad (CSG, CSI) and René Matera (Promet group), founded DD Acquisition, which became a shareholder of the Croatian group Đuro Đaković holding with a significant share of almost 19%.

Đuro Đaković specializes in railway cars and the production of military equipment. This corresponds exactly to the segments in which operates Jaroslav Strnad. Arms business is done by the CSG Group, which Strnad transferred to his son Michal in early 2019. He retained engineering activities, including repairs and railway cars, in his CSI group.

Now we must add that another Czech businessman, the controversial Pavel Petrovič, and his company ST Probin, which mainly deals with the supply of diagnostic equipment, have recently entered the game. He surprisingly gained about 9% of stocks of Đuro Đaković, so the size of his share, combined with the share of the Strnad - Matera tandem, is about the same as the share of the Croatian state. The rest of the group's shares from Slavonski Brod are held by small shareholders, none of whom does own more than one percent.

Petrovič did business in all the services associated with setting up offshore companies in tax paradises. In the past, he also collaborated with the Panamanian office Mossack Fonseca, from which in 2016 millions of documents about hiding property, the so-called Panama Papers, leaked. Petrovič is also one of the former co-owners of the bankrupt WPB bank. He is now being charged and prosecuted by the police in connection with a company seated in a tax paradise.

Croatian newspaper Poslovni dnevnik speculates on whether Petrovič's entry into the race is accidental or whether it actually means a further real strengthening of the influence of the Strnad-Matera duo. But it does not provide any evidence of this idea. Poslovni dnevnik still points out that if Czech entrepreneurs act in concert, the Croatian state will not approve any key decision regarding the plant without their consent. This would increase the probability that the whole company will eventually fall into Czech hands. Strnad and Matera categorically denied the joint approach with Petrovič, their spokesman only repeating that Đuro Đaković is an important goal for them and that they are interested not only in its takeover but also in its long-term development.