Value of Open Pension Funds (OPFs) assets managed by known international insurance companies such AEGON, Allianz, Aviva, Axa, Generali, MetLife, Nationale Nederlanden declined in 2019 by over PLN 2.5 billion - this means that there is less money of future Polish retirees accumulated in those funds. The only exception is Allianz OPF. The assets of Aviva OPF lost the most - nearly PLN 930 million. The Polish stock exchange is quite fossil fuel heavy. The largest of these are companies controlled by the Polish State Treasury - oil and gas PKN Orlen, Lotos Group and PGNiG as well as coal-based electricity utilities (Enea, Energa, PGE, Tauron, Kogeneracja) and coal miners (Bogdanka, JSW).
These companies accounted for over 15% of the value of OPF assets managed by PZU - the biggest insurance company in Poland. All those companies lost value in 2019. Lotos lost the least - over 5.5% but the loss of value of Enea, Energa, PGE, Orlen and Tauron shares exceeded 20%, shares of Bogdanka dropped by more than 30%, PGNiG shares by over 37%, and JSW lost a record 68% .
OPFs held 15.95% of PGE shares at the end of 2019. PGE is the owner of Bełchatów Power Plant - the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and PM2,5 and PM10 particles. PGE generated over 91% of its electricity by burning lignite and hard coal. The company plans to build a new, completely archaic Złoczew lignite opencast mine, which value exceeds company's capitalization by over EUR 0,5 billion. OPFs owned by Aviva, PZU, AEGON, MetLife, Generali and Allianz actively purchased PGE shares in 2019. In addition, Allianz OFE bought PGE bonds issued in 2019 for over PLN 26 million.
The assets of OPF managed by PZU lost over PLN 490 million in value in 2019. PZU OPF has the highest value of shares among OPF of Polish coal companies in relation to the total assets of OPF. It is also the largest shareholder among OPF based its activity on the extraction and combustion of lignite from the company ZE PAK. This company was valued at PLN 391 million at the end of 2019. ZE PAK is still planning the construction of the Ościsłowo opencast, the cost of which is similar to the company's capitalization. As opposed to the OPF managed by PZU - MetLife, Generali and AEGON did not hold any shares of ZE PAK at the end of 2019.
Polish citizens and clients of OPFs are negatively impacted as assets of OPFs include companies based on mining, sales, transport and burning of fossil fuels and these are losing value.
Fossil fuel companies contribute to the emissions of greenhouse gas and of substances which are responsible for poor air quality and smog formation. Polish citizens are negatively impacted by the operations of fossil fuel companies with their health and shorter life expectancy. The value of these companies is decreasing, which is associated with a decrease in the value of expected future pensions and the profits of the clients of these companies.
“We subsidize most of these companies with our taxes, which then go to fuel companies in the form of subsidies or exemptions from taxes. - comments Kuba Gogolewski, Senior Finance Campaigner with Fundacja “Rozwój TAK - Odkrywki NIE” from Poland - “The outlook of Polish fossil fuel companies does not look good due to the expected growing pressure from institutional investors on business strategy in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement and reduction of emissions but also due to the EU pressure on the need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the second and third decades of the 21st century”.