Bloomberg News

PGNiG Says Szubski Quits as CEO of Biggest Polish Gas Group

December 20, 2011

(Updates with fund manager comments in fourth paragraph.)

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, Poland’s biggest natural-gas company, said Chief Executive Officer Michal Szubski quit for personal reasons.

Szubski, who took the post in March 2008, is the second CEO at a state-controlled energy company to resign in less than a week. Tomasz Zadroga, the head of power utility PGE SA quit on Dec. 14, without giving a reason. Poland owns controlling stakes in the Warsaw Stock Exchange’s biggest companies, including PKO Bank Polski SA, oil refiner PKN Orlen SA and coal producer Jastrzebska Spolka Weglowa SA.

No one at the Treasury Ministry, which oversees most state- owned companies in Poland, was immediately available to comment. The ministry is headed by Mikolaj Budzanowski, who replaced Aleksander Grad at the post after October elections.

“That’s the thing about state-owned companies in Poland,” said Jakub Bentke, who helps manage the equivalent of $1.5 billion at Warsaw-based mutual fund KBC TFI SA said by phone. “Any change of the government or at the post of the Treasury Minister is usually followed by reshuffles at state-owned companies, which is definitely not good for the companies.”

Joanna Zakrzewska, a spokeswoman for Warsaw-based PGNiG, wasn’t immediately available for further comments on Szubski’s resignation when contacted by phone.

State Price Increase

The PAP newswire cited a Szubski statement as saying the delay by the country’s regulator to increase the price of the fuel at the the start of next year prevented him from “responsibly” managing the company and will lead to “serious losses from the sale” of natural gas.

The company imports most of its gas from Russia’s OAO Gazprom, paying in dollars and getting revenue in zloty.

PGNiG shares erased gains after the announcement. The stock traded 0.7 percent higher at 4.21 zloty at 1:41 p.m. in Warsaw, valuing the company at 24.8 billion zloty ($7.2 billion).

--Editor: James M. Gomez

To contact the reporter on this story: Pawel Kozlowski in Warsaw pkozlowski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net


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