AB S.A. Chairman Andrzej Przybyło at the Business Sharks gala
Andrzej Przybyło, the founder, creator of success and Chairman of the Board of the AB Group, number one IT distributor in Poland and CEE Region, with annual revenues of 8 billion PLN was invited by the organisers of the Business Sharks (Rekiny Biznesu) competition to participate in a panel discussion that will inaugurate this year’s official award gala and to share the information about AB Group and the story of its success with the participants. The Chairman of the Board of AB S.A. also handed the award in the “Exporter of the Year” category, won by CD Projekt.
“The financial market in Poland is very competitive and we actively choose it over foreign markets due to many business considerations. A good example of this is the very attractive financing for development in Poland in 2014 – 100 million PLN in bonds, and then, a year later another 70 million PLN in bonds for business development in Czech Republic. It may be surprising for some, but the conditions set forth by Czech banks, despite the conditions of excess liquidity in the sector and record low interest rates were worse than conditions for issuance of bonds in Poland; additionally, the operation would take much longer in Czech Republic. We also took advantage of CIRS, which effectively changed our liabilities in PLN into Czech Korunas and the variable interest into fixed interest, which made using the large and liquid Polish market even more attractive than another local market in the region”, said Andrzej Przybyło during a panel discussion with the representatives of Haitong Bank and the Polish Development Fund.
The chairman of the AB Group also reminded the audience watching the event at the venue and on-line about his business history, emphasising the impact of the Warsaw Stock Exchange on his success.
“I started by investing all the money I saved up by going to work in Norway, I sold computer consumables – floppy disks, dot matrix ribbons… We could not afford to buy and sell computers yet. Our first clients were the shopping centres of their times – owners of bunk beds, roadside stands, people who went to computer markets. And, what is interesting, those were the most demanding clients in our history. We had a „truck”, a Fiat 126p with all the seats removed, which we used to deliver packages to the railway station – PKP was the only delivery company back then, and they were not eager to cooperate with us. Our first office was located on the first floor of a workers’ hotel, just because it was cheaper than the ground floor. When the products arrived, we all stopped working and tossed the boxes through the window – being accurate was certainly good back then”, he recalled.
He also noted that with time he noticed that reinvesting the revenue is not enough to take advantage of all the development opportunities offered by the market. In 1998, the Enterprise Investors fund joined the shareholders, which helped to get the company in order. 2006 marked a breakthrough moment in the company’s history, an IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, which gave it 17 million PLN for development with reduction of share subscription of 86%. After a year, in the second offering, AB S.A. earned 110 million PLN for taking over ATC in Czech Republic, thus becoming a regional player. The dynamic development continued, while the competition was left far behind. The public offering also made the company more credible in the eyes of clients, financial institutions and insurance providers.
“Taking a look at the data from 2005, the final, audited one before the IPO and comparing them with the results for 2016, it turns out that we managed to increase our revenues by over 8 times, EBITDA is 10 times bigger now, and net profit is 11 times bigger than it used to be. Thus, we also managed to increase the profitability of our business. The same thing can be seen in our balance sheet. Our assets are 7 times bigger, and equity – which shows the real strength of a distributor – 13 times bigger than we used to have. Despite the public offerings, the equity per share are 8 times bigger than during the IPO. Only in the last two years we managed to earn more or less the same as we got back then from IPO and SPO together. We currently have 680 employees, 30% of them are with us for a decade or longer. Even in our warehouses, we always hired and still hire people on permanent employment contracts. We keep investing in our team and their development, because we know that a company is as good as people which make it up”, said Andrzej Przybyło.
The video recording from the gala will be available at inwestorzy.tv.