Poland fires state-run infra fund chief

Mariusz Grendowicz is to depart amid alleged complaints that the $3.1bn vehicle has been too slow to sign deals.

State-controlled infrastructure fund Polish Development Investments (PIR) has dismissed its chief executive and said it will soon launch a competitive process to find his replacement.

The institution hasn’t publicly explained its decision but reports in the local press have suggested Poland’s treasury was unhappy with the pace at which the vehicle had signed deals since being founded in June 2013.

Announced in 2012 by the government of Donald Tusk as part of an investment programme aimed at spurring economic growth, the fund was designed to act in concert with the country’s development bank, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), as a minority partner to the private sector in roads, ports, airports as well as power, hydrocarbon transport and production projects.

Owned by the treasury, the fund was to receive as much as PLN10 billion (€2.4 billion; $3.1 billion) for investment from the sale of minority stakes in state-controlled companies such as PKO BP, the country’s largest bank. Another PLN10 billion was sent to BGK, a sum the institution was due to leverage to PLN40 billion in lending.

On its website, PIR says it has analysed 64 direct investment projects since inception. It sealed its first deal in October 2013, when it agreed to co-finance a PLN1.6 billion investment project with state-controlled energy company LOTOS Petrobaltic to develop the B8 oil field in the Baltic Sea.

It has since signed contracts to kick-start projects in the petrochemical, fibre optic, district heating, conventional power and road sector. The fund’s team counts 13 staff, with equity participations in single projects typically ranging between PLN50 million and PLN750 million.