Czech billionaire Kretinsky working in isolation after contracting coronavirus

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, owner of the energy holding group EPH with assets around Europe, said he had contracted the new coronavirus and had been working in isolation.

He was quoted on Monday by Blesk and E15 newspapers, both part of the media group he owns, as saying he tested positive on March 12 and has been in quarantine since.

Kretinsky, 44, is the highest-profile Czech who has tested positive for the virus. The Czech Republic has reported 2,837 confirmed cases as of Monday morning.

“I did not have any of the symptoms that would make me realize I was infected; no high temperature or cough, just a light cold. I was working normally,” he said.

Kretinsky said 27 contacts had been tested, including co-workers, but results for them have been negative.

Kretinsky has built up EPH over more than a decade, buying up unwanted coal-power assets in markets as well as other assets in Germany, Italy and Britain.

He has diversified investments in recent months, buying into media and retail groups, including becoming the biggest shareholder of German retailer Metro B4B.DE and a stakeholder in French group Casino CASP.PA.

Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Alison Williams