Jan Kulczyk (born 24 June 1950, in Bydgoszcz, Poland) is Poland´s richest man. He is the founder and owner of Kulczyk Holding (headquartered in Warsaw) and international investment house Kulczyk Investments (former name: Kulczyk Investment House) with headquarters in Luxembourg and offices in London, Kiev and Dubai. According to Forbes magazine, Kulczyk is the richest citizen of Poland, with an estimated wealth of 11.1 billion PLN (2.6 billion euro). In 2013 he was ranked 384 on The World’s Billionaire list by Forbes moving up in the rank due to his continuously diversified portfolio of investments, notably in Africa where Kulczyk Investments holds a 40% stake in Neconde Energy Limited, a consortium which acquired an oil production license in Nigeria.
Kulczyk graduated with a degree in law from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań as well as having graduated the University of Economics in Poznań with a degree in foreign trade. He also holds a Ph.D. in international law. Much of his business ventures have been a continuation of a family business tradition into a third generation.
Jan Kulczyk is currently involved in several investments specializing in four strategic sectors: mineral resources, energy, infrastructure and real estate. Kulczyk Investments is a 40% shareholder in Neconde Energy Limited, a recently formed consortium which acquired a 45% stake in a production license OML 42 in the Niger Delta from Shell, one of the world’s largest hydrocarbon reservoirs. Investment in Neconde gives Kulczyk Investments access to very attractive production assets in Africa. In January 2013, Kulczyk Investments became a shareholder of San Leon Energy as a result of a merger of the company with Aurelian Oil and Gas, acquiring a 4.7% share in the company which holds 83 oil and gas concessions across Poland, Albania, Morocco, Spain, Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Germany; KI also carries a 39% in Loon Energy Corporation, holder of an exploration and production concessions in Colombia and Peru; 49.99% in Kulczyk Oil Ventures, a company dealing with oil and gas exploration and production in the Sultanate of Brunei, Syria and Ukraine; as well as 10.2% in Ophir Energy, an oil and gas exploration and production company active in Africa. Through Strata Limited, in which KI holds 15,4% the company holds shares in two exploration and production companies listed on the AIM in London, Zanaga Iron Ore Company Ltd. (ZIOC) which deals with the management and development of a world class iron ore located in the South Western part of the Congo (Brazzaville); and Ncondezi Coal Company Ltd which is currently exploring and developing coal exploration licences in the Tete Provinde of Mozambique with the resource potential of 1.8 billion tons of coal.
In 2010, Jan Kulczyk set up Kulczyk Silverstein Properties (with a 45% stake), a joint venture with Silverstein Properties Inc, the renowned US developer involved in the World Trade Center revitalization, which develops and acquires office, retail and mixed-use properties throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Kulczyk Real Estate Holding grants facility management services within the group as well as to external partners.
In 2009 Kulczyk exchanged his 28% share in Kompania Piwowarska, a brewing company, with a 42% share in the Polish beer market for 3.8% of SABMiller Plc, the world’s second largest beer producer. Through subsidiaries, he holds 24% in Autostrada Wielkopolska and 40% in Autostrada Wielkopolska II, companies that successfully constructed and operate the A2 motorway in Western Poland (completed 1 December 2011).
Kulczyk Investments has also been the leading importer and dealer of Skoda, Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche in Poland during the years 1994 -2011. Through KH Logistyka, the company holds a nearly 58% share in PEKAES SA, a leader in the TSL market in Poland. In 2009, Kulczyk Investments acquired 90% in Chemikals, a company that operates and manages logistic ports in Braniewo and Skandawa, two modern rail trans-shipment terminals at the border with the Kaliningrad Oblast. Kulczyk Investments holds a 100% stake in Polenergia, a company operating on the energy market in Poland, as well as a 100% stake in an energy trading venture KI Energy Trading. Elektrownia Północ is planning to construct a controversial coal power plant in Northern Poland. In 2011 Kulczyk Investments acquired a 100% stake in Elektrociepłownia Nowa Sarzyna, a gas-fired heat and power plant.
Jan Kulczyk’s father set up three companies after World War II, all of which were taken over by the communist state. In 1981, Kulczyk formed Interkulpol, one of the first companies with foreign capital in Poland. In 1988, he then established the Kulczyk Tradex company, which was the only official wholesaler of Volkswagen and Audi in Poland. In 1991, Kulczyk Holding, a limited liability was established, and in 1993 it was transformed into a joint-stock company. Jan Kulczyk is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the company. Kulczyk Holding belongs to the international investment group Kulczyk Investments (former name: Kulczyk Investment House), and manages the assets of the group in Poland. Completed investments have included: PTC Era mobile operator (4.8% in 1993-1999, partnership with Deutsche Telekom Mobil Net GmbH), TPSA Polish telecom operator (47.5% acquired alongside France Telecom in privatisation deal and later sold to government owned France Telecom), national oil refining and marketing PKN Orlen (nearly 5% in 2001-2005), TUiR Warta SA, an insurance company (70% gradually sold to KBC) and PTE Dom pension fund (50% disposed to KBC).
In 2004, Jan Kulczyk was associated with the Orlen affair, given that at that time Kulczyk Holding was the biggest private shareholder of PKN Orlen. At the same time, Jan Kulczyk’s meeting with Vladimir Alganov, a Russian intelligence officer and representative of one of the leading Russian enterprises operating on the energy market raised concern on the issues connected with trading in electrical energy. Regarding the Orlen investigation, the proceedings at the Prosecutors’ Office in Katowice commenced and the parliamentary investigative commission was appointed. Jan Kulczyk was heard as a witness by the prosecutor’s office four times and submitted extensive explanation to the parliamentary commission. Due to lack of evidence, the Prosecutor’s Office discontinued the proceedings.
Jan Kulczyk is the co-founder of the Polish Business Roundtable, founded in 1992, of which he was chairman on two occasions. The Polish Business Roundtable is an Association comprising presidents and owners of the biggest Polish companies as well as international companies operating in Poland.
Since 2005 he has been involved with Green Cross International, the world’s third largest non-profit environmental NGO, established in 1993 by Mikhail Gorbachev. In October 2007, the Green Cross International (GCI) Board of Directors unanimously elected Kulczyk to succeed the former USSR President as the Chairman of the Board.
In 2010, Jan Kulczyk launched the CEED Institute, a think tank which promotes the achievements and the economic potential of Central and East European countries. He is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Atlantic Council.
In 2012, Jan Kulczyk, who is not Jewish, donated about $6 million to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, providing the largest donation to the museum by an individual donor, according to TheNews.pl.
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- Kulish, Nicholas (18 April 2013). "Polish Museum Repairs a Tie to a Jewish Past". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 January 2015.
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